Military Bios

Lieutenant General John J. Murphy:

Military Branch:United States Airforce
Retired Sep. 1, 1983.  
Lieutenant General John J. Murphy is commander of 15th Air Force, March Air Force Base, Calif.
General Murphy was born in New Haven, Conn., where he graduated from St. Mary's High School in 1943. He completed Squadron Officer School and Air Command and Staff College, in 1955 and 1962 respectively. He graduated (cum laude) from Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Weatherford, in 1964, with a bachelor of science degree in general business and accounting, and received a master's degree in international affairs from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C., in 1970. General Murphy is also a graduate of the National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
He entered the Army Air Corps as a private in 1943 and was later appointed an aviation cadet. Following graduation from pilot's training, he was a gunnery instructor and attended fighter transition training. At the end of World War II, he entered the civil engineer career field and was a post engineer in Georgia, Massachusetts and Germany, and an honor graduate of the Army Engineer School. He was a P-51 pilot in the 357th Fighter Group at Neubiberg, Germany, until he returned to civilian life in January 1947.
For the next two years, General Murphy was active in the Air Force Reserve and became an aircraft maintenance officer as well as an instructor pilot at Westover Air Force Base, Mass. He was recalled to active duty in January 1949 and was assigned as a special missions pilot and air installation officer at Tulin Air Base, Austria. He returned to the United States in early 1952 and was assigned as chief of the Reserve Districts, 14th Air Force, Robins Air Force Base, Ga.
From December 1952 to January 1956, General Murphy served as a flight instructor, operations officer and assistant chief of training for the Air Force Reserve Pilot Training Wing at Brooks Air Force Base, Texas. He was detachment commander and chief of maintenance, supporting the 433rd Troop Carrier Wing (Air Reserve) at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., when he was nominated for an attache assignment in Rangoon, Burma. He was assigned to the American Embassy there from May 1957 to July 1959.
The general transferred to the Strategic Air Command's B-52 program and progressed from B-52 co-pilot to chief of standardization, and later squadron commander in the 11th Bombardment Wing at Altus Air Force Base, Okla.
Assigned to Headquarters 2nd Air Force at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., General Murphy served as chief of operations in the Office of the Inspector General from April 1967 to August 1969. He was also chief of inspections within the directorate. He then attended the National War College graduating in June 1970.
In August 1970 he left for the Republic of Vietnam, where he was assigned to the Air Force Advisory Group of the Military Assistance Command-Vietnam, at Tan Son Nhut Air Base. He served as the senior adviser to the inspector general of the Vietnamese air force, and during this assignment, flew 93 combat missions.
Returning to the United States in August 1971, he became director of operations and training for 2nd Air Force at Barksdale. He remained there until January 1972, when he was designated vice commander of the 93rd Bombardment Wing at Castle Air Force Base, Calif. After serving five months at Castle, he was selected to command the 306th Bombardment Wing at McCoy Air Force Base, Fla. In June 1973 he took command of the 42nd Air Division, also at McCoy. He moved with the 42nd Air Division to Blytheville Air Force Base, Ark., in September 1973.
General Murphy was assigned to Headquarters Strategic Air Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., in April 1975 as assistant deputy chief of staff for operations. In April 1976 he became the command's deputy chief of staff for logistics. He returned to Barksdale Air Force Base as vice commander, 8th Air Force, in September 1977. He commanded Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, from November 1978 to July 1981, when he assumed his present command.
The general is a command pilot with more than 12,000 flying hours in virtually every type of Air Force aircraft from the smallest to the largest. He also wears the Master Missile Badge. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Presidential Unit Citation emblem with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award ribbon with "V" device and oak leaf cluster and Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with palm.
He was promoted to lieutenant general Aug. 1, 1981, with date of rank July 29, 1981.


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