Retired May 1, 1987.
Brigadier General Richard G. Head is deputy director for operations, National Military Command Center, Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C. He is directly responsible for the operational management of the command center which is the focal point for information and order between the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Unified and Specified commands.
General Head was born in 1938, in Mason City, Iowa, and graduated from Franklin High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 1956. He entered the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., with the second class and graduated in 1960 with a bachelor of science degree in engineering science. In 1968 he was selected for graduate education at Syracuse (N.Y.) University, graduating first in his class with a master's degree in public administration. He was awarded a doctor of philosophy degree in political science in 1971 after writing a dissertation, "Decision-Making on the Air Force A-7 Attack Aircraft Program."
The general completed Squadron Officer School by correspondence and was awarded the distinguished graduate citation. In 1976 General Head attended the National War College at Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C., where he was appointed a student faculty member, associate fellow, senior fellow and distinguished graduate. While a student, he completed a book (with Robert C. McFarlane and Frisco W. Short), "Crisis Resolution: Presidential Decision-Making in the Mayaguez and Korean Confrontations." He was nominated by the Air Force to the National Council on Foreign Relations in June 1977 and served as a military fellow at the Council for the year 1977-1978. While there, he published "Technology and the Military Balance" in "Foreign Affairs," April 1978.
His operational career began with pilot training at Bartow Air Base, Fla., and Williams Air Force Base, Ariz., where he graduated first in his class with the outstanding student award. After receiving his pilot wings in September 1961, the general entered combat crew training in F-100s and won the outstanding pilot award. From the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962 until December 1964, he flew F-100s with the 31st Tactical Fighter Wing in Florida, Japan, Korea and Turkey. From February 1965 to March 1966, General Head flew 325 combat missions in A-1 Skyraiders over North Vietnam, the Republic of Vietnam and Laos while assigned to the 602nd Fighter Squadron at Bien Hoa Air Base, Republic of Vietnam. Returning to the United States, he became an instructor in F-4 Phantom IIs with the 4453rd Combat Crew Training Wing, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.
Following graduate studies at Syracuse University, General Head joined the department of political science at the U.S. Air Force Academy in September 1970. He taught international politics, the politics of science, and defense policy and edited a major textbook, "American Defense Policy," Third Edition, which was widely used by the Reserve Officer Training Corps, the Air University, and more than one hundred colleges and universities.
In 1973 he returned to flying and was assigned as operations officer with the 421st Tactical Fighter Squadron at Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. His next assignment was Clark Air Base, Philippines, where he served as chief, Aircrew Evaluation Division, and commander, 90th Tactical Fighter Squadron, flying F-4D's and E's. In addition, he initiated and commanded the Cope Thunder (Red Flag) combat training exercise program for Pacific Air Forces.
Following graduation from the National War College in 1977 and completion of the year with the National Council on Foreign Relations, General Head was assigned as military assistant to the undersecretary of Defense for policy, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington, D.C. From April 1979 to July 1983, he served with the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff initially as director of the Crisis Planning Assessment Group, and subsequently as special assistant to the director of the Joint Staff. Following selection for brigadier general, he served for two years as the deputy commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's 5th Allied Tactical Air Force at Vicenza, Italy. He assumed his present duties in July 1985.
The general is a command pilot with more than 3,000 flying hours, 700 of them in combat. His military decorations and awards include the Silver Star, Defense Superior Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with 12 oak leaf clusters and Air Force Commendation Medal.
He was promoted to brigadier general Oct. 1, 1983, with same date of rank.