Retired July 1, 1982.
Brigadier General Richard W. Pryor is deputy director, Defense Communications System, Defense Communications Agency, located in Arlington, Va. He is responsible for programming, planning and managing the Defense Communications System, the worldwide network of long distance point-to-point and switched communications for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and other government agencies. This includes circuitry routed by microwave radio, wire, fiber optic line, cable and satellite. More than 3,000 sites are located in 75 countries and islands, and almost 2,000 of these sites are overseas. As the critical element of the worldwide military command and control system, the Defense Communications System provides the communications needed to satisfy the requirements of the National Command Authorities, Joint Chiefs of Staff, unified and specified commands, military services and Defense agencies.
General Pryor was born in 1932, in Poplar Bluff, Mo., and graduated in 1951 from Ammundsen High School in Chicago. He received a bachelor of arts degree in history from the University of Nebraska, Omaha, and a master of arts degree in business management from Webster College, St. Louis. He is also a graduate of Squadron Officer School, and Air Command and Staff College, both located at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
He entered the U.S. Air Force in April 1952. General Pryor was a distinguished graduate of the aviation cadet program and received his commission as a second lieutenant together with his navigator wings in November 1953. He then served as a navigation instructor at Ellington Air Force Base, Texas, from January 1954 to May 1957.
Upon graduation from radar school at Mather Air Force Base, Calif., in November 1957, he was selected as an instructor at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., where he served until 1960. His next assignment was to Yokota Air Base, Japan, as a flight navigator and combat crewmember aboard B-57s with the 90th Bombardment Squadron. In June 1963 he was appointed war plans officer for the 41st Air Division at Yokota Air Base.
The general returned to the United States in June 1964 to attend communications school and was subsequently assigned to Headquarters Satellite Control Facility of the Space Systems Division, Los Angeles. While there he served as program manager for many programs in the Development Engineering Directorate.
From June 1969 until May 1971, General Pryor served as commander of the Guam Satellite Tracking Station. He transferred to the 1964th Communications Group, Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, in June 1971 as chief of plans and programs.
In July 1973 he was assigned to Headquarters Air Force Communications Service, Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base, Mo., as director of plans. He become director of requirements in November 1973, and in September 1975 he was named deputy chief of staff for plans and resources. In August 1976 General Pryor become chief of staff, Air Force Communications Service and served in that position until he took command of the Southern Communications Area, Oklahoma City Air Force Station, Okla., in January 1978.
He took command of the Northern Communications Area at Griffiss Air Force Base, N.Y., in June 1979. In that position he commanded 8,000 military and civilian personnel in the northern United States, the Azores and Germany. He was responsible for operations, maintenance, air traffic control, and engineering and installations around the world. Five thousand Air National Guard and reserves were also assigned for support and training. General Pryor assumed his present duties in June 1981.
The general is a master navigator and wears the Senior Missile Badge. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, National Defense Service Medal with service star, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal 1st Class, and others.
He was promoted to brigadier general Aug. 1, 1979, with date of rank July 31, 1979.