Retired May 1, 1986.
Brigadier General Robert B. Plowden Jr. is deputy director of operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
General Plowden was born in 1932, in Sumter, S.C., where he attended public schools. He received a bachelor's degree from Clemson (S.C.) University in 1954 and a commission through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program.
After undergraduate pilot training at Spence Air Base, Ga., and Greenville Air Force Base, Miss., he earned his wings in September 1955. General Plowden completed combat crew training at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., and reported to his first operational assignment at George Air Force Base, Calif., in March 1956, flying F-86D's. He was assigned to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, from 1959 to 1963; and Castle Air Force Base, Calif., from 1963 to 1968, flying F-102s and F-106s.
Following RF-4C training at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., he served a tour of duty in Southeast Asia with the 12th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, from April 1969 to April 1970, flying 440 combat hours. General Plowden returned to the United States as an Air Staff action officer and division chief in the Directorate of Plans at Air Force headquarters. He also served as an executive officer for the assistant to the secretary of the Air Force for international affairs and in June 1976 was assigned to the National Security Council staff at the White House.
In August 1977 General Plowden began the first of five assignments in Germany. Initially as commander of the 86th Combat Support Group, Ramstein Air Base and then as commander of the 86th Tactical Fighter Group in April 1978. From March 1979 to February 1980, he served as vice commander of the 36th Tactical Fighter Wing at Bitburg Air Base and then took command of the 52nd Tactical Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base. In February 1981 he was assigned as deputy chief of staff for operations, 2nd Allied Tactical Air Force, Rheindahlen Garrison. The general returned to Air Force headquarters in July 1983 and served as deputy director for regional plans and policy, Directorate of Plans. He assumed his present duties in September 1985.
A command pilot with 4,400 hours flying time, General Plowden's military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with 11 oak leaf clusters and Air Force Commendation Medal.
He was promoted to brigadier general July 12, 1981, with same date of rank.