Retired Aug. 1, 1987.
Brigadier General Richard J. Toner is vice commander, 5th Air Force, Yokota Air Base, Japan.
General Toner was born in 1934, in Medford, Mass., and attended public schools in Arlington, Mass. After a year at Holy Cross College, Worcester, Mass., he entered the U.S Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md., and graduated in 1957 with a bachelor of science degree in general engineering and a commission in the U.S. Air Force. In 1966 he received a master of science degree in engineering management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y. The general completed Squadron Officer School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in 1962 and was a distinguished graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C., in 1976.
For four years following his commissioning, General Toner served in a variety of base and staff level civil engineering assignments in London; Phalsbourg Air Base, France; and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. After graduation from Squadron Officer School in 1962, he remained as a section commander on the school faculty, a position he held until June 1965. He completed his graduate degree program a year later, and was assigned to Bien Hoa Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, as commander Detachment 4, 823rd Civil Engineering Squadron (Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operations Repair Squadron, Engineer).
Upon his return from Southeast Asia in December 1967, General Toner reported to Aeronautical Systems Division, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. He became the chief of the Plans Branch in the Bare Base System Program Office, the unit tasked with developing an air transportable air base to enhance the worldwide mobility of U.S. tactical air forces. Following the successful demonstration of this capability, he was assigned to the Air Staff in Washington, D.C., in early 1970.
The general's initial Pentagon assignment was as a politico-military affairs officer in the Directorate of Doctrine, Concepts and Objectives, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations. While there he was the Department of Defense action officer for development of the total force concept and also served as a final editor for the official analysis of U.S. Air Force operations and support in Southeast Asia. In August 1973 General Toner was selected as special assistant to the Air Force chief of staff. In this capacity he was the speech writer for the chief of staff and also performed special studies and analyses. The following year he became assistant executive to the newly appointed Air Force chief of staff. He remained there until reporting to the National Defense University in August 1975.
In July 1976 General Toner became the U.S. Air Force executive assistant to the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, Belgium. A year later, he became SHAPE's deputy director of policy and served in the vital interface role between the political and military authorities of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. He reported to Hellenikon Air Base, Greece, in July 1978, served briefly as vice commander and then took command of the 7206th Air Base Group. He was also the senior U.S. military commander in Greece and a member of the U.S. Ambassador's country team. From December 1978 through February 1979, General Toner directed the evacuation of American citizens from Iran to Athens.
From June 1980 to July 1981, General Toner was assigned at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, as commander of the Air Force Commissary Service-Europe. The command encompassed 33 resale stores and troop issue distribution centers throughout Europe and the Middle East. He then became executive assistant to the commander in chief, U.S. Air Forces in Europe. In June 1982 General Toner became the executive assistant to the Air Force chief of staff. He assumed his present duties in July 1984.
His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Bronze Star Medal with "V" device and one oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal and Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters.
He was promoted to brigadier general Sept. 1, 1983, with same date of rank.