Military Bios

Lieutenant General George H. Sylvester:

Military Branch:United States Airforce
Retired June 1, 1981.  
Lieutenant General George H. Sylvester is vice commander Air Force Systems Command Andrews Air Force Base, Md.
General Sylvester was born in 1927, in Riverside, N.J., and graduated from Haverford High School, Havertown, Pa. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., in 1949 with a bachelor of science degree in military engineering and a commission as a second lieutenant. He has a master of science degree from Georgetown University and is a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
Following graduation from the academy, he earned his pilot wings at Vance Air Force Base, Okla. In November 1950 General Sylvester was assigned to the Military Air Transport Service (now Military Airlift Command) and served as a pilot at Kelly Air Force Base, Texas. He then completed one year of duty with the 7th Air Rescue Squadron at Sidi Slimane Air Base, Morocco.
In November 1952 he was transferred to Great Falls Air Force Base, Mont., as a pilot with the 75th Air Transportation Squadron. In November 1953 he moved with the 75th to Travis Air Force Base, Calif. Duties at both locations included trans-Pacific missions and regular flights to Kodiak and Adak in the Aleutians.
In June 1954 General Sylvester was assigned through the Air Force Institute of Technology to study international relations and political science at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. He graduated from Georgetown in 1956 with a master's degree and served the next four years as an assistant professor in government at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y. He next was a student at the Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., where he was a distinguished graduate in the class of 1961.
In July 1961 General Sylvester was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Programs, as an international affairs officer in the Pacific-Asian Branch and from October 1961 until March 1964 as a long-range planning officer. In June 1964 he become military assistant to the secretary of defense.
After F-4C combat crew training from March to July 1966, General Sylvester was transferred to Da Nang Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, where he commanded the 480th Tactical Fighter Squadron, known as "The MiG Killers," and flew 68 combat missions over North Vietnam. In December 1966 he became commander of Da Nang Air Base.
General Sylvester entered the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C., in August 1967. Upon graduation in June 1968, he went to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., where he was director of test and evaluation in the Armament Development and Test Center. In April 1970 he was named assistant director, tactical systems test and evaluation, Office of the Director of Defense, Research and Engineering, Office of the Secretary of Defense.
From June 1973 until October 1974, General Sylvester was deputy for systems at the Aeronautical Systems Division, Air Force Systems Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. He then served as vice commander of the Aeronautical Systems Division until September 1976 when he became commander. He assumed his current position of vice commander, Air Force Systems Command, in March 1979.
He is a command pilot. His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with seven oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Presidential Unit Citation emblem, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award ribbon with oak leaf cluster and the Vietnamese Medal of Honor, 1st Class.
General Sylvester was promoted to the grade of lieutenant general on Sept. 17, 1976, with same date of rank.


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