Retired July 1, 1992.
Lieutenant General Charles A. May Jr. is assistant vice chief of staff, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
General May was born in Washington, D.C., and graduated from Archbishop Carroll High School in 1955. He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy as a member of its first class, with a bachelor of science degree, in 1959. In 1967 he earned a master's degree in international relations from Columbia University through the Air Force Institute of Technology program. The general was a distinguished graduate of Squadron Officer School in 1964, and the Air Command and Staff College in 1973. He attended the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Defense College in Rome in 1979 and the management program for executives at the University of Pittsburgh in 1982.
After receiving his commission in the Air Force as a second lieutenant and navigator, General May entered primary pilot training at Bainbridge Air Force Base, Ga., flying T-34s and T-37s. He then was assigned to Reese Air Force Base, Texas, where he completed T-33 pilot training in September 1960 and earned pilot wings. In October 1960 the general transferred to James T. Connally Air Force Base, Texas, flying T-29s, and later became an instructor pilot assigned to the 3566th Navigator Training Squadron's Instrument and Transition Section.
In April 1963 he joined the Instrument Pilot Instructor School staff at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, as a flight instructor in T-29s and T-39s, and taught academic classes. General May was selected for the Air Force Institute of Technology graduate program at Columbia University in April 1965. After graduating in June 1967, he was assigned to the department of political science at the Air Force Academy as an academic instructor. In April 1969 he volunteered for an assignment to Southeast Asia. After completing A-37 combat crew training at England Air Force Base, La., he departed for Da Nang Air Base, South Vietnam, as wing standardization and evaluation adviser to the Vietnamese air force 41st Wing. While there he flew 165 combat missions in A-37s.
He returned to the Air Force Academy in May 1970 as an associate professor of political science. In June 1972 the general was selected to attend Air Command and Staff College. Completing this course in June 1973, he was assigned to Air Force headquarters as an Air Staff action officer with duty in the Pacific Southeast Asia Branch, Directorate of Plans, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Policy, until July 1975.
After completing B-52 combat crew training at Carswell Air Force Base, Texas, General May reported to the 96th Bombardment Wing at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. During this assignment he served as a B-52 aircraft commander, operations officer and commander of the 337th Bombardment Squadron. In January 1978 he became deputy commander of the 96th Combat Support Group there. After graduating from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Defense College in February 1979, he was assigned to the 11th Strategic Group at Royal Air Force Station Fairford, England, as deputy commander for operations. In March 1980 he became group commander.
From July 1981 to August 1982 he commanded the 92nd Bombardment Wing at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash. General May then was assigned to Headquarters Strategic Air Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., as director of training. In January 1983 he became director of command control. He returned to Air Force headquarters and served as deputy for strategic forces, Directorate of Operational Requirements, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, from October 1984 to July 1985. He then was assigned to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Research, Development and Acquisition, as special assistant for ICBM modernization. The general served as deputy director for operational requirements and special assistant for ICBM modernization matters from February 1986 to March 1987. He then became deputy director of advanced programs, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, as part of the Goldwater-Nichols DOD Reorganization Act. In June 1988 General May was assigned to SAC headquarters as deputy chief of staff for requirements. From January 1990 until January 1991 he was assistant deputy chief of staff for plans and operations, Air Force headquarters. He assumed his present position in February 1991.
The general is a command pilot with more than 5,400 hours in various aircraft, including B-52s, KC-135s and EC-135s. His military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters, and numerous foreign awards.
He was promoted to lieutenant general Feb. 1, 1991, with same date of rank.