Retired June 1, 1983.
Major General Ernest A. Bedke is deputy chief of staff, operations and intelligence, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii.
General Bedke was born in Oakley, Idaho, in 1934 where he graduated from high school in 1951. He earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration from the University of Idaho in 1955 and was commissioned a second lieutenant through the Reserve Officers' Training Corps program. He attended the Air Command and Staff College and the Air War College, both located at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., graduating in 1967 and 1973, respectively.
General Bedke completed basic pilot training at Bryan Air Force Base, Texas, in November 1956 and remained there as an instructor pilot until July 1958. He then served as an instructor pilot, check pilot and standardization pilot at Reese Air Force Base, Texas. In July 1962 General Bedke moved to France for duty as an air operations officer with the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing at Chaumont Air Base, and later served as a fighter pilot with the 480th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Phalsbourg Air Base. He returned with the 480th to Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., in July 1963.
In January 1966 General Bedke went to the Republic of Vietnam as an F-4C aircraft commander with the 390th and 480th Tactical Fighter Squadrons at Da Nang Air Base where he flew 276 combat missions. In August 1966 he returned to the United States and entered Air Command and Staff College. After graduation he returned to the Republic of Vietnam, where he served for a year as an Army liaison officer/forward air controller with the 199th Light Infantry Brigade at Cat Lai, flying more than 300 combat missions from September 1967 until October 1968.
General Bedke was an operations staff officer with the Offensive Operations Division, 4th Allied Tactical Air Force at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, from October 1968 to January 1971. He transferred to the Pentagon as chief, Europe-North Atlantic Treaty Organization Branch, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington D.C.
After attending the Air War College, where he was a distinguished graduate, General Bedke became deputy commander for operations of the 33rd Tactical Fighter Wing, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.
In March 1974 he transferred to MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., as vice commander of the 1st Tactical Fighter Wing (later redesignated the 56th Tactical Fighter Wing). General Bedke served as commander, 56th Tactical Fighter Wing from August 1975 until November 1977, when he was assigned to the Tactical Fighter Weapons Center at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., as the deputy commander for Training, Testing and Range Facilities. In July 1979 he became inspector general, Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va., and assumed his present duties in December 1980.
The general is a command pilot with more than 5,486 flying hours. His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with 19 oak leaf clusters and Air Force Commendation Medal.
He was promoted to major general Sept. 1, 1980, with date of rank July 1, 1977.