Retired June 1, 1987.
Lieutenant General John L. Pickitt is director, Defense Nuclear Agency, Washington, D.C.
General Pickitt was born in 1933, in Teague, Texas, and grew up in Gilmer, Texas. He attended Kilgore Junior College before entering the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 1951. He graduated with a bachelor of science degree and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force in 1955. He earned a master of science degree in aeronautical engineering in 1961 through the Air Force Institute of Technology program at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The general completed Air Command and Staff College in 1965 and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1973.
In August 1955 General Pickitt entered primary pilot training at Marianna Air Force Base, Fla., proceeding to basic pilot training in February 1956 at Greenville Air Force Base, Miss. He then remained at Greenville as an instructor pilot.
He was named chief of Air Force Systems Command's Liquid Rocket Section at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., in August 1961. Following graduation from Air Command and Staff College in June 1965, he was assigned to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans, Headquarters Air Training Command, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. In February 1967 he transferred to MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., for F-4 combat crew training. In August 1967 General Pickitt joined the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing, Da Nang Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, as an F-4 aircraft commander. He flew 161 combat missions, 100 of them over North Vietnam. Upon returning to the United States, he was assigned to the air-to-air study group of the Fighter Division in the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Studies and Analyses, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., from April 1968 to July 1972.
The general graduated from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in June 1973 and was assigned to the 474th Tactical Fighter Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., as assistant deputy commander for operations. In January 1974 he became wing deputy commander for operations and in February 1975 the wing's vice commander.
He moved to Langley Air Force Base, Va., in May 1975 as special assistant to the commander of Tactical Air Command. He served in that capacity until July 1976 when he became commander of the 2nd Aircraft Delivery Group at Langley. General Pickitt transferred to Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, in January 1977 and served as commander of the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing. In July 1978 he became commander of Tactical Training Luke, later designated 832nd Air Division, Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. The general returned to Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, in January 1980, where he served as assistant deputy chief of staff for plans and then as deputy chief of staff for plans.
In April 1981 he became deputy commander of Tactical Air Command and commander of air defense forces (this position later designated commander, 1st Air Force), and served in that capacity until May 1983 when he moved to the Republic of Korea to serve as deputy commander in chief, United Nations Command; chief of staff of the Republic of Korea/United States Combined Forces Command; and deputy commander, U.S. Forces Korea. He assumed his present duties in June 1985.
General Pickitt is a command pilot with more than 4,000 flying hours in fighter aircraft which include F-4s, F-5s, F-15s, F-104s, F-106s and F-111s. His military decorations and awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross with three oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with 12 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster and Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with "V" device.
He was promoted to lieutenant general June 1, 1983, with same date of rank.
General Pickitt's hometown is Gilmer, Texas.