Retired July 1, 1994.
Lieutenant General Thomas G. McInerney is assistant vice chief of staff, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. He is responsible for the organization and administration of the Air Staff. Additionally, he serves as deputy chairman of the Air Force Council and is the Air Force accreditation official for the Air Attache Corps.
General McInerney was born in 1937, in Havre de Grace, Md., and graduated from Garden City (N.Y.) High School in 1955. He earned a bachelor of science degree from the U.S. Military Academy in 1959 and a master's degree in international relations from The George Washington University in 1972. The general completed Armed Forces Staff College in 1970 and the National War College in 1973.
After graduating from the academy in June 1959, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army. He then joined the Air Force, and completed initial pilot training at Bartow Air Base, Fla., and Laredo Air Force Base, Texas, in November 1960. General McInerney was assigned to Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., and later to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., for advanced gunnery training. His first operational assignment was in October 1961 with the 476th Tactical Fighter Squadron, flying F-104s at George Air Force Base, Calif. There he took part in the Berlin and Cuban crises in 1962, flying escort missions in the Berlin Corridor and escort reconnaissance missions over Cuba. In April 1963 he was one of the first forward air controllers assigned to South Vietnam with a Vietnamese army division.
Upon his return to the United States in April 1964 he was assigned to the Tactical Air Warfare Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., as an F-4C aircraft commander. In February 1966 he attended the F-4 Fighter Weapons School, Nellis Air Force Base, where he remained as an instructor with various F-4 assignments in the Weapons School and the Tactical Fighter Weapons Center, Test and Evaluation Division. Also, he participated in two Southeast Asia deployments as introduction team chief, bringing the F-4D and F-4E into combat.
The general volunteered for a fourth tour in Southeast Asia and served with the 469th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, from February until August 1969. After completing the Armed Forces Staff College in February 1970, he was transferred to the Directorate of Operational Requirements, Air Force headquarters. During this assignment he participated in many high-level study groups on the Middle East, air-to-air missile requirements and the F-15 advanced air superiority fighter.
Upon graduation from National War College in July 1973, General McInerney was assigned to the 58th Tactical Fighter Training Wing, Luke Air Force Base, as F-104 and F-5 director of operations. He was primarily responsible for German F-104 training and the F-5E Military Assistance Program. In August 1974 he became the air attache to the U.S. Embassy in London. There he worked for three different ambassadors, assisting them in changing U.S. policy toward the multi-role combat aircraft, and increased standardization with European aerospace and North Atlantic Treaty Organization air forces.
From November 1976 until October 1977 he was vice commander of the 20th Tactical Fighter Wing, Royal Air Force Station Upper Heyford, England. The general then became military assistant to Ambassador Robert W. Komer, the adviser to the secretary of defense on North Atlantic Treaty Organization affairs. In this capacity, he assisted in developing the organization's long-term defense program, which was announced at the 1978 Washington Summit. In March 1979 General McInerney became commander of the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing, Clark Air Base, Philippines, and was deeply involved in implementing the base agreement that placed Clark Air Base under Philippine sovereignty.
In February 1981 he was assigned as commander of the 313th Air Division, Kadena Air Base, Japan. The general then served as deputy chief of staff for operations and intelligence, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, from June 1983 to July 1985, when he became commander of 3rd Air Force, Royal Air Force Station Mildenhall, England. In October 1986 General McInerney was assigned as vice commander in chief, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Ramstein Air Base, West Germany.
He became commander of Alaskan Air Command, Alaskan NORAD Region, and Joint Task Force Alaska in May 1988. The general assumed command of Alaskan Command upon its activation in July 1989, and became commander of 11th Air Force when Alaskan Air Command was redesignated 11th Air Force in August 1990. He assumed his current position in July 1992.
The general is a command pilot with more than 4,100 flying hours, including 407 combat missions (243 in 0-1s as a forward air controller and 164 in F-4C's, D's and E's). His military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star Medal with "V" device and oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with 17 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster and Vietnam Service Medal with six service stars. He has also been awarded the Third Order of the Rising Sun by the Japanese government.
In addition, the general was inducted into the Order of the Sword in July 1980. This award recognizes both military and civilian individuals for conspicuous and significant contributions to the welfare and prestige of the noncommissioned officer corps and the military establishment. The general was the sixth Pacific Air Forces officer and the 63rd officer overall inducted into the order since the Air Force became a separate branch of the armed services in 1947.
He was promoted to lieutenant general Oct. 8, 1986, with same date of rank.