Retired Nov. 10, 1981.
Major General (Dr.) Howard R. Unger is command surgeon, Military Airlift Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill. As command surgeon he serves on the staff of the commander in chief, Military Airlift Command, and is the medical adviser to the commander in chief on the physical well-being of command personnel. He is also responsible for the command's worldwide aeromedical evacuation system, medical centers, hospitals and clinics.
General Unger was born in 1927, in Shamokin, Pa. He graduated from Williamsport (Pa.) High School in 1945. He began his premedical studies on a combined scholostic/athletic scholarship at The George Washington University, Washington, D.C., where he received his bachelor of arts degree in 1949 and doctor of medicine degree with distinction in 1952. General Unger served his medical internship at Gallinger Municipal Hospital (now District of Columbia General). He received a master of public health degree from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, in 1958. He is a 1966 graduate of the National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
Upon completion of his internship in 1953, General Unger entered general practice in Washington, D.C. He was commissioned a first lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force Medical Corps in February 1954 and reported to Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, for the primary aviation medicine course. He next served as a flight surgeon at the 320th Tactical Hospital, March Air Force Base, Calif. In February 1956 he returned to private practice and become university physician for The George Washington University.
In September 1956 General Unger returned to active duty and served as assistant base flight surgeon at Boiling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C. In August 1957 he entered the Air Force Medical Education Residency Training Program in aerospace medicine at the School of Hygiene and Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, where he received a master of public health degree. He completed the advanced course and residency in aerospace medicine at the Air Force School of Aviation Medicine at Randolph Air Force Base in 1959. The following year he completed his residency in that specialty at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
He was assigned to the 810th Medical Group at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., in August 1960 where he served as director of the Aerospace Medicine Program. General Unger transferred in February 1962 to Headquarters Strategic Air Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., where he served in the Office of the Surgeon as chief of aerospace medicine. His duties included serving as an instructor for phase-three residents in aerospace medicine, medical project officer for B-58s, U-2s and SR-71s, and medical support plans officer for B-52 operations in Southeast Asia.
Following graduation from the National War College in June 1966, General Unger was assigned as chief of research and flight medicine in the Directorate of Professional Services, Office of the Surgeon General, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
General Unger left for the Republic of Vietnam in September 1968 to serve as the chief of Professional Services and Operations Division, Office of the Surgeon, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam. In September 1969 he returned to Washington, D.C., as chief of flight medicine in the Office of the Surgeon General and become chief of the Aerospace Medicine Division.
His next assignment was as commander of the U.S. Air Force hospital at Royal Air Force Station Lakenheath, England, in July 1972. In June 1974 General Unger transferred to Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, as command surgeon and was in charge of all U.S. Air Force medical activities in Europe.
The general became commander of the Aerospace Medical Division, Air Force Systems Command, Brooks Air Force Base, Texas, in April 1975. He assumed his present duties in August 1978.
General Unger is rated as a chief flight surgeon. His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award ribbon with oak leaf cluster, Combat Readiness Medal, National Defense Service Medal with service star, Vietnam Service Medal with five service stars, Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon with five oak leaf clusters and Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon. From the Republic of Vietnam, he received the Army Distinguished Service Order 2nd Class, Air Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with palm, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal and Health Service Medal 1st Class.
General Unger is past president of the Aerospace Medical Association, American College of Preventive Medicine and the Society of U.S. Air Force Flight Surgeons. He was vice chairman from 1974 to 1978 and trustee from 1971 to 1980 of the American Board of Preventive Medicine in Aerospace Medicine. The general was elected to membership in the International Academy of Aviation and Space Medicine in 1978 and received the George E. Schafer Award for the Career Flight Surgeon of the Year in 1979. He is board-certified in aerospace medicine by the American Board of Preventive Medicine.
He was promoted to major general Dec. 4, 1980, with date of rank Aug. 1, 1977.