Retired Sep. 1, 1987.
Lieutenant General Philip C. Gast is director, Defense Security Assistance Agency, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington, D.C.
General Gast was born in 1930, in Philadelphia, Mo., and graduated from Emerson-Philadelphia High School in 1948. He received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Missouri in 1952 and was commissioned a second lieutenant through the Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps program. General Gast graduated from Squadron Officer School in 1957, at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. He received a master's degree in military science through the Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kan., in 1965, and completed the National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C., in 1970.
He entered active duty in August 1952 and completed pilot training at James Connally Air Force Base, Texas, in December 1953. In April 1954, after gunnery training at Williams and Luke Air Force bases, Ariz., he went to Turner Air Force Base, Ga., where he was assigned as an F-84 pilot in the 31st Fighter-Bomber Wing.
In April 1955 he transferred to Larson Air Force Base, Wash., as an RF-84F pilot with the 71st Strategic Fighter Reconnaissance Wing. From April to July 1957, he attended Squadron Officer School. He next was assigned to Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas, and flew F-84s for the 12th Tactical Fighter Wing and F-101s in the 27th Tactical Fighter Wing. In January 1959 he began a tour of duty with the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing at Royal Air Force Station Bentwaters, England, again flying F-101s.
General Gast returned to the United States in March 1962 and was assigned to George Air Force Base, Calif., as an F-105 pilot in the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing and become chief, wing standardization and evaluation. Following completion of the Army Command and General Staff College in June 1965, General Gast was assigned to Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va., as chief of the command briefing team and later as chief, Fighter Commitments Branch.
From July 1966 to January 1967, during the Vietnam War, he was assigned to the operations staff, 355th Tactical Fighter Wing and later become commander of the 354th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. General Gast completed 114 combat missions, 101 of which were flown over North Vietnam. He is credited with destroying one MiG-17.
He was next assigned to Hahn Air Base, Germany, in July 1967 as operations officer of the F-4-equipped 10th Tactical Fighter Squadron. He became squadron commander in November 1967.
Following graduation from the National War College in June 1970, the general was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., as executive officer to the Air Force vice chief of staff. In April 1971 he become deputy director of doctrine, concepts and objectives in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations.
General Gast was named vice commander of the 12th Flying Training Wing, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, in July 1972. He then served as commander of the 3550th (redesignated the 38th) Flying Training Wing, Moody Air Force Base, Ga., from August 1973 to April 1975.
He became vice commander, San Antonio Air Logistics Center, Kelly Air Force Rose, Texas, in April 1975. In December 1976 he transferred to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, where he served as assistant for international logistics, Air Force Logistics Command, until June 1977 when he become the command's chief of staff.
From November 1977 to October 1979, General Gast served as chief, Military Assistance Advisory Group, Iran. In November 1979 he returned to the United States as assistant for readiness at Tactical Air Command headquarters, and in March 1980 become the command's vice commander. In July 1980 he was named director for operations, Joint Staff, Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C. He assumed his present duties in August 1982.
He is a command pilot with more than 4,150 flying hours. His military decorations and awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Silver Star with oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with three oak leaf clusters, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with 10 oak leaf clusters and Air Force Commendation Medal.
He was promoted to lieutenant general March 1, 1980, with same date of rank.
General Gast's hometown is Ewing, Mo.