Retired May 1, 1984.
Brigadier General Rudolph F. Wacker is commander of the 19th Air Division, Strategic Air Command, Carswell Air Force Base, Texas.
General Wacker was born in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and graduated from Wappinger Central School, Wappinger Falls, N.Y., in 1946. He enlisted in the Air Force in July 1947, and following stateside assignments he transferred to Germany as part of the allied occupation forces. Upon returning to the United States as a sergeant in September 1949, he attended the U.S. Military Academy preparatory school at Stewart Air Force Base, N.Y. He then entered the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., and graduated in 1954 with a bachelor of science degree in military science and engineering. He completed the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in 1967 and the Royal College of Defence Studies, London, in 1975.
Following completion of undergraduate pilot training at Greenville Air Force Base, Miss., in August 1955, General Wacker served with the 37th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at Ethan Allen Air Force Base, Vt. In July 1960 he was assigned to Headquarters 65th Air Division, Torrejon Air Base, Spain, as chief of fighter evaluation for U.S. and Spanish air forces.
The general began a tour of duty at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., as a military training instructor in August 1963. In addition to classroom instruction duties, he directed "Operation Third Lieutenant" and later was instrumental in formulating a summer field training program designed to provide practical leadership opportunities for cadets. He next attended the Air Command and Staff College from August 1966 to June 1967. This was followed by F-4 training at George Air Force Base, Calif.
From February 1968 and February 1969, General Wacker served at Da Nang Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, where he flew 240 combat missions in F-4s. This combat tour of duty was followed by an assignment to the Tactical Operations Division, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., as the Air Staff action officer for Southeast Asia interdiction operations. During his last year in Washington, he was chief of tactics in the Operations Directorate. He was assigned to the Tactical Air Warfare Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., from August 1972 to January 1974, and was responsible for electronic warfare exercise evaluations and operational test and evaluation of new tactical weapons.
After completing the Royal College of Defence Studies in December 1975, General Wacker served as deputy commander for resource management, 10th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, Royal Air Force Station Alconbury, England, until June 1976. He was then named vice commander of the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing, Royal Air Force Station Bentwaters, England, prior to becoming commander in May 1977. During his tour of duty as commander, the wing converted from F-4 Phantom IIs to a "super wing" with six squadrons of A- 10 Thunderbolt II close air support aircraft. In August 1979 the general took command of SAC's 42nd Air Division at Blytheville Air Force Base, Ark. He assumed his present command in August 1982.
He is a command pilot with 5,000 flying hours. His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with 15 oak leaf clusters and Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster.
He was promoted to brigadier general July 1, 1979, with date of rank June 6, 1979.