Retired Jan. 1, 1985.
Brigadier General Wilson C. Cooney is deputy commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's 5th Allied Tactical Air Force located at Vicenza, Italy.
General Cooney was born in 1934 in Philadelphia. He graduated from Emmaus (Pa.) High School in 1952 and earned a bachelor's degree in business management from Park College, Kansas City, Mo., in 1975. His professional military education includes graduation from Squadron Officer School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces by correspondence.
He entered the U.S. Air Force in January 1954 and received his commission and navigator wings in March 1955 through the aviation cadet program at Ellington Air Force Base, Texas.
His first operational assignment was at Pope Air Force Base, N.C., as a navigator and later as instructor navigator in C-119s. General Cooney entered pilot training in June 1958 at Bartow Air Force Base, Fla., and earned his pilot wings the following year at Vance Air Force Base, Okla. He was then selected to be an instructor pilot and after completing Basic Instructor School at Craig Air Force Base, Ala., in August 1959 he returned to Vance Air Force Base. He was initially assigned as an instructor pilot, and subsequently served in the 3575th Pilot Training Wing as a T-33 and T-37 standardization and evaluation pilot and assistant group operations officer.
From May 1963 to January 1967, the general was assigned to Yokota Air Base, Japan, where he served first as an aircraft commander in the fighter-bomber version of the B-57 Canberra with the 3rd Bombardment Wing. He then moved to 41st Air Division headquarters and was assigned as an air defense, fighter and support operations officer for F-102s, F-105s, RB-57s, T-33s and T-39s. During this period General Cooney also flew as an instructor pilot and flight examiner in T-33s and T-39s.
Upon returning from Japan he transferred to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., as a systems analyst in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations. While assigned to the operations staff, General Cooney also served as lead analyst for special computer projects and studies in conventional weapons employment by tactical systems. In August 1969 he began a two-year tour of duty at Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas, as a flight commander in RF-40s.
In July 1971 the general began his second overseas tour of duty. He was assigned to the 314th Air Division, Osan Air Base, South Korea, as chief of reconnaissance plans for the Republic of South Korea and in September 1971, he became commander of the 3rd Services Squadron at Kunsan Air Base.
General Cooney returned to the United States in August 1972 and assumed command of the 12th Operations Squadron at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. In September 1975 he was assigned to Craig Air Force Base, Ala., as commander of the 29th Organizational Maintenance Squadron and in June 1976 he was named base commander. In September 1977 the general returned to Vance Air Force Base as the 71st Flying Training Wing's deputy commander for operations and in April 1979 he become commander of the wing. General Cooney returned to Randolph Air Force Base in June 1980, as commander of the 12th Flying Training Wing. He assumed his present duties in August 1981.
The general is a command pilot with more than 5,000 flying hours. His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Citation emblem, and Air Force Outstanding Unit Award ribbon with "V" device and two oak leaf clusters.
He was promoted brigadier general April 1, 1982, with date of rank Oct. 1, 1981.