Retired Aug. 1, 1988.
Brigadier General Richard L. Craft is deputy director of operations, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
General Craft was born in 1934 West Liberty, Ky., and graduated from high school in Lexington, Ky. He earned a bachelor of arts degree at the University of Kentucky in 1957 and a master of arts degree in public administration from Golden Gate University in 1976. He completed Squadron Officer School in 1963, Air Command and Staff College in 1974, Air War College in 1978 and the National Defense University's Institute for Higher Defense Studies in 1984.
He was commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program as a second lieutenant in August 1957. After completing undergraduate pilot training at Craig Air Force Base, Ala., in February 1959, he was assigned to Moody Air Force Base, Ga., flying F-86s. From April 1963 to June 1964 he flew F-86s and F-102s while stationed at Perrin Air Force Base, Texas. He then transferred to Misawa Air Base, Japan, where he flew F-102s with the 4th Fighter Interceptor Squadron. General Craft returned to the United States in June 1965 and was assigned to the 33rd Tactical Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., flying F-4s.
General Craft served as a fighter pilot with the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, from July 1967 until February 1968, when he became an operations officer at Headquarters 7th Air Force, Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Republic of Vietnam. In August 1968 the general was assigned to the 15th Tactical Fighter Wing, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., in a replacement training unit as a guided-weapons instructor for electro-optical weapon systems.
The general transferred to the U.S. Air Force's F-4 Fighter Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., in August 1970 as a flight commander and subsequently served as chief of standardization and evaluation, 57th Fighter Weapons Wing. In August 1972 he was assigned to the Office of Deputy Chief of Staff for Requirements, Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va., as chief of the Guided Munitions Branch, Directorate of Avionics and Armament.
In August 1975 General Craft assumed command of the Air Force's first operational F-15 squadron, the 27th Tactical Fighter Squadron, with the 1st Tactical Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base. From March 1977 to August 1977 he served as the wing's assistant deputy commander for operations. After graduating from Air War College in July 1978, the general served as chief of the Tactical Division, Directorate of Operations and Readiness, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Plans and Readiness, Air Force headquarters. In June 1980 he transferred to the 406th Tactical Fighter Training Wing, Zaragoza Air Base, Spain, as vice wing commander, and became commander in April 1981.
From July 1982 to March 1984 General Craft served at Bitburg Air Base, West Germany, as commander of the 36th Tactical Fighter Wing, flying F-15s. After completing the National Defense University's Capstone course in July 1984, he was assigned to the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C. During this tour of duty, he served, first, as deputy director for operations, National Military Command Center, and then as deputy director for operations, National Military Command System. In July 1986 he became the deputy director for regional plans and policy, and director of ground-launched cruise missile planning, Directorate of Plans, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations, Air Force headquarters. He assumed his present duties in May 1987.
The general is a command pilot with more than 4,500 flying hours. His military decorations and awards include the Silver Star, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with seven oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Combat Readiness Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with three service stars, Air Force Overseas Ribbon-Long, Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon with five oak leaf clusters, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. He is also the recipient of the Air Force Association's Hoyt S. Vandenberg Award for Aerospace Education in the instruction and demonstration of laser and electro-optical systems.
He was promoted to brigadier general Sept. 1, 1984, with same date of rank.
The general's hometown is Lexington, Ky.