Retired April 1, 1983.
Maj. Gen. John E. Kulpa Jr. is director of special projects, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, and deputy commander for space operations, Space Division, Los Angeles Air Force Station, Calif.
General Kulpa was born in 1929, in Newark, N.J. He graduated from Bloomfield (N.J.) High School in 1946 and entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. He graduated from the academy in 1950 with a bachelor of science degree in military engineering. The general has a master of science degree in aeronautical engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. General Kulpa completed Squadron Officer School and the Air Command and Staff College, both located at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.; and the National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
After graduation from the academy, he received flight training at James Connally and Ellington Air Force bases, Texas, and was awarded navigator wings in September 1951. In October 1951 he was assigned to the 343rd Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron at Ramey Air Force Base, Puerto Rico, and in March 1952 he was assigned temporary duty at Yokota Air Base, Japan, where he completed a Korean War combat tour of duty.
In November 1952 the general returned to the 343rd Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron which had relocated to Forbes Air Force Base, Kan. In March 1954 he was assigned to England with detachments of the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Royal Air Force stations Mildenhall and Lakenheath.
Upon his return to the United States in November 1954, he joined the 4024th Bombardment Squadron at Biggs Air Force Base, Texas, as a lead navigator on a select aircrew. He became the ground training officer for the 97th Bombardment Wing, also at Biggs Air Force Base, in October 1955.
After completing the Air Force Institute of Technology program at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in August 1957, General Kulpa was assigned to the Wright Air Development Center, also at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. During this time the center was being structured into the Wright Air Development Division and ultimately into the Aeronautical Systems Division. He was project engineer for propulsion and flight test in the Snark Weapon System Project Office and then operational manager in the GAM-77 Hound Dog Project Office. As operational manager he was the key individual within Air Force Systems Command for assuring the smooth and successful transition of the Hound Dog missile into the Strategic Air Command inventory.
From August 1962 to July 1963, he attended Air Command and Staff College and in August 1963 he joined Space Systems Division at Los Angeles Air Force Station as a project manager responsible for the development of a research sub-satellite. In February 1965 he became system program director of an active Air Force satellite program.
Following graduation from the National War College in August 1969, General Kulpa became commander and director of the Air Force Avionics Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. From August 1971 to August 1972, he served as deputy for engineering at the Aeronautical Systems Division, directing the largest in-house system engineering capability in the U.S. Air Force. He was then assigned to the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force in Washington, D.C., as deputy director for programs, Office of Space Systems and, in January 1973, became the director.
General Kulpa was principal deputy for plans to the deputy director of central intelligence for the Intelligence Community, Washington, D.C., from October 1974 to July 1975. In August 1975 he was assigned to his current position and in February 1980 he assumed the additional duties of deputy commander for space operations.
His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster and Distinguished Unit Citation emblem. He was the recipient of the prestigious General Thomas D. White Space Trophy in 1980.
He was promoted to major general Feb. 6, 1976, with date of rank June 14, 1973.
General Kulpa's hometown is Bloomfield, N.J.