Retired Oct. 1, 1996.
Major General Arnold R. "Bob" Thomas Jr. is vice commander of the 9th Air Force and deputy commander of United States Central Command Air Forces, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. Ninth Air Force has a twofold mission. It is an intermediate headquarters under Air Combat Command in charge of nine active duty wings and designated ACC-gained Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve units. As the air component of U.S. Central Command, its mission is to develop contingency plans and conduct air operations in a 19-nation area of responsibility from northeast Africa to southwest Asia.
The general entered the Air Force in June 1964 as a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. He has commanded flying organizations at the squadron, wing and air defense sector level, including an F-15 training wing. In addition to his current assignment, he has staff experience at the major command, Air Staff and unified command level working in personnel management, studies and analysis, space operations, aerospace defense and counter-drug operations. He flew 215 combat missions in Southeast Asia as a fighter pilot and fast forward air controller, including 65 over North Vietnam. He is a command pilot with more than 3,000 flying hours.
1964 Bachelor of science degree, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.
1973 Master's degree in operations research, Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio
1978 Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va.
1985 Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
1. July 1964 - August 1965, pilot training, Reese Air Force Base, Texas
2. September 1965 - March 1966, F-4C combat crew training, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.
3. April 1966 - January 1968, F-4C fighter pilot, 92nd Tactical Fighter Squadron, Royal Air Force Station Bentwaters, England
4. February 1968 - May 1968, F-4C combat crew training and instructor pilot, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.
5. June 1968 - February 1969, F-4D fighter pilot, 480th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Da Nang Air Base, South Vietnam
6. March 1969 - May 1969, Stormy F-4D fast forward air controller, 390th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Da Nang Air Base, South Vietnam
7. June 1969 - December 1969, F-106 combat crew training, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.
8. January 1970 - June 1971, F-106 pilot, 48th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Langley Air Force Base, Va.
9. July 1971 - May 1973, systems analysis and operations research student, Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio
10. June 1973 - June 1977, action officer and systems analyst, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
11. July 1977 - January 1978, student, Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va.
12. February 1978 - April 1978, F-4C combat crew training, George Air Force Base, Calif.
13. May 1978 - May 1979, F-4E pilot and operations officer, 57th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Keflavik, Iceland
14. June 1979 - May 1982, F-4E pilot, operations officer and commander, 68th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Moody Air Force Base, Ga.
15. June 1982 - July 1984, director, personnel plans and systems, and director of assignments, deputy chief of staff, personnel, Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va.
16. August 1984 - June 1985, student, Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
17. July 1985 - February 1986, deputy chief of staff, operations, Headquarters 1st Air Force, Langley Air Force Base, Va.
18. March 1986 - April 1989, F-15 instructor pilot, deputy commander for operations, vice commander and commander, 325th Tactical Training Wing, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.
19. May 1989 - May 1990, F-15 pilot and commander, Southeast Air Defense Sector, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.
20. June 1990 - January 1993, command director and vice director, combat operations, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Base, Colo.
21. February 1993 - April 1993, deputy chief of staff, operations, 2nd Allied Tactical Air Force, Rheindahlen, Germany
22. April 1993 - July 1995, deputy director, ACE Reaction Force Air Staff, Kalkar, Germany
23. July 1995 - present, vice commander, Headquarters 9th Air Force and U.S. Central Command Air Forces, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C.
Rating: Command pilot
Flight hours: More than 3,000
Aircraft flown: A/OA-10, F-4C, F-4D, F-4E, F-102, F-106, T-33, T-39 and F-15
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross
Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters
Air Medal with 13 oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal
Vietnam Service Medal with four service stars
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant Jun 3, 1964
First Lieutenant Dec 3, 1965
Captain Mar 15, 1968
Major Apr 1, 1975
Lieutenant Colonel Feb 1, 1979
Colonel Oct 1, 1983
Brigadier General Jul 1, 1990
Major General May 20, 1993