Retired April 1, 1982.
Major General Don H. Payne is commander, Keesler Technical Training Center, Keesler Air Force Base, Miss.
General Payne was born in 1927, in Dallas. He graduated from high school in Garland, Texas, and following a year of college was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., in 1946. He graduated from the academy with a degree in military science and a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force in June 1950. He received a master of science degree in mechanical engineering from Southern Methodist University in Dallas in 1962 and graduated from the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pa., in 1968.
He received his pilot wings in August 1951 and after completion of combat crew training was assigned in November 1951 to the Far East Air Forces. He served in Japan and South Korea and during the Korean War flew 74 combat missions in the F-84.
In January 1953 General Payne was assigned to Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, as a fighter gunnery instructor. He moved to Williams Air Force Base, Ariz., as a gunnery instructor in October 1955 and in August 1957 was assigned as an operations staff officer in the Fighter Division of the Crew Training Air Force at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. While still at Randolph General Payne served as executive officer for the deputy chief of staff for Technical Training in Air Training Command headquarters. He transferred to Perrin Air Force Base, Texas, in September 1959 as an instrument flying instructor.
General Payne completed his master's degree at Southern Methodist University through the Air Force Institute of Technology program in February 1962 and was subsequently assigned as an operations staff officer, Directorate of Operations, Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va.
He was assigned to the Military Assistance Advisory Group, Taiwan, in June 1963 as an operations adviser to the Republic of China air force. In July 1965 General Payne became a personnel staff officer within the Directorate of Personnel Plans in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. In August 1967 he entered the Army War College.
From May 1969 until April 1970, General Payne was deputy commander for operations, 12th Tactical Fighter Wing at Cam Ranh Bay Air Base, Republic of Vietnam. While in Southeast Asia General Payne flew 159 combat missions in the F-4 Phantom. He transferred to Bitburg Air Base, Germany, where he was assigned as deputy commander for operations, 36th Tactical Fighter Wing. He became vice commander of the wing in December 1970 and commander in May 1972.
General Payne returned to the United States in August 1974 and was assigned as deputy chief of staff for personnel, Headquarters Tactical Air Command. He became the Pacific Air Forces inspector general in August 1975 and in October 1976 was assigned as deputy chief of staff, operations and intelligence, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. He assumed his current position in May 1979.
He is a command pilot with more than 4,800 flying hours. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal with 12 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Unit Citation emblem with three oak leaf clusters, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award ribbon with four oak leaf clusters and "V" device, and the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation.
He was promoted to major general Feb. 8, 1979, with date of rank July 1, 1975.