Retired Sep. 30, 1989.
General Duane H. Cassidy is commander in chief of U.S. Transportation Command and Military Airlift Command, with headquarters at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. As commander in chief of Transportation Command he is responsible for global land, air and sea transportation for all U.S. fighting forces. As commander in chief of Military Airlift Command, he is responsible for military airlift in support of unified and specified commands during war, periods of crisis and contingencies. The general also commands special operations, rescue, weather, aeromedical evacuation, audiovisual and operational support airlift forces for Department of Defense agencies throughout the world. He is executive director of the Single Manager Operating Agency for the Department of Defense Airlift Service.
General Cassidy was born in Coraopolis, Pa., in 1933. He earned a bachelor of science degree from the University of Nebraska in 1968 and a master of science degree from Troy State University in 1975. He completed Squadron Officer School in 1961, Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1973, Air War College in 1975, the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University in 1979, and the program for senior executives in national and international security at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, in 1983.
Upon completion of aviation cadet training, the general was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1954. He then attended navigator training at Harlingen and James Connally Air Force bases, Texas. His initial operational assignments in the Air Force were to the Military Air Transport Service: first to the Air Weather Service's 6th Weather Group, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, flying B-25s, and then to Air Rescue Service's 49th Air Rescue Squadron, Selfridge Air Force Base, Mich. During these assignments he participated in numerous rescue and weather reconnaissance missions, including the hydrogen weapons test in 1956 at Eniwetok Atoll in the Marshall Islands. His navigator assignments ended after two years as a Military Air Transport Service C-121 line crew member at Charleston Air Force Base, S.C. He entered pilot training in December 1958.
General Cassidy was assigned to Strategic Air Command after graduation from pilot training and flew B-47s at McCoy Air Force Base, Fla., Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., and Lincoln Air Force Base, Neb. In November 1965 he transferred to Minot Air Force Base, N.D., and served with the 810th Strategic Aerospace Division, whose mission included B-52 bomber and Minuteman missile operations. In September 1968 he was assigned to the Republic of Vietnam, serving first with 7th Air Force's Tactical Air Control Center and then with the Military Assistance Command Vietnam Directorate of Public Affairs as an air briefer to the Saigon press corps.
The general returned to the Air Force airlift mission in October 1969. He was assigned to Military Airlift Command headquarters as executive to the deputy chief of staff for operations, and later as executive aide and pilot for the Military Airlift Command commander. In August 1972 he assumed command of the 8th Military Airlift Squadron, McChord Air Force Base, Wash. He entered Air War College in August 1974 and, upon graduation, again served at Military Airlift Command headquarters, as assistant chief of staff.
In August 1976 General Cassidy was assigned as vice commander of the 63rd Military Airlift Wing at Norton Air Force Base, Calif. In February 1978 he became commander of the wing. He returned to Military Airlift Command headquarters in July 1980 and served initially as assistant deputy chief of staff for operations. In August 1981 he became the command's deputy chief of staff for operations.
From October 1983 to August 1984 he served as commander of Military Airlift Command's 21st Air Force at McGuire Air Force Base, N.J. During this period Military Airlift Command was heavily involved in support of United States' operations in Lebanon and Grenada. General Cassidy then transferred to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., where he served as deputy chief of staff for manpower and personnel. The general assumed command of Military Airlift Command in September 1985 and of U.S. Transportation Command upon its activation Oct. 1, 1987.
The general is a command pilot and senior navigator with more than 8,000 flying hours. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, and the Air Medal. General Cassidy also wears the Parachutist Badge.
He was promoted to general Nov. 8, 1985, with same date of rank.