Retired April 1, 1988.
Major General John T. Stihl is assistant chief of staff, systems, for command, control, communications and computers, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
General Stihl was born in 1932, in San Francisco. He graduated from Laguna Beach (Calif.) High School and earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Omaha and a master of science degree in business administration from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. He completed Squadron Officer School in 1960, and is a distinguished graduate of the Air Command and Staff College and the Air War College; all located at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. He completed the Defense Attache Course in Washington, D.C., in 1969.
He entered military service in 1953 and was selected for the aviation cadet training program. The general was commissioned a second lieutenant at Laredo Air Force Base, Texas, in March 1955 and assigned as a jet flying instructor at Bryan Air Force Base, Texas. Between 1957 and 1961, he had operational flying assignments as a jet fighter pilot at Dover Air Force Base, Del., and troop carrier pilot at Donaldson Air Force Base, S.C.
He completed the communications officers course in 1961 and became an academic instructor in the 3380th Technical School, Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. Remaining at Keesler, General Stihl assumed duties as chief, Intercept Branch, 3380th Technical School, and then as chief, flight operations, Keesler Technical Training Center.
Following completion of Air Command and Staff College in June 1967, General Stihl became a combat mission commander with the 12th Air Commando Squadron (Ranch Hand), Bien Hoa Air Base, Republic of Vietnam. During this tour of duty, he flew 406 combat missions.
Upon his return to the United States in December 1968, he completed the Defense Attache Course and was assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency, Washington, D.C., as the Southeast Asia desk officer, Attache Affairs Division. In October 1970 he was assigned to the Air Force Section, U.S. Delegation, Joint Brazilian/U.S. Military Commission, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
General Stihl returned to the United States to attend the Air War College, and upon graduation in May 1974, he became chief, Policy and Objectives Division, and then director of plans, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Resources at Headquarters Air Force Communications Service, Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base, Mo.
In April 1976 he became commander of the 1989th Communications Group and deputy chief of staff, communications-electronics, Headquarters 16th Air Force, Torrejon Air Base, Spain.
During this period the 1989th Communications Group was awarded the Major General Harold M. McClelland Award as the most outstanding Air Force communications-electronics organization for 1977. From June 1978 to August 1979, General Stihl was the assistant deputy chief of staff, communications-electronics, Headquarters United States Air Forces in Europe, and special assistant for communications to the commander, Allied Air Forces Central Europe, Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
He was then named vice director of the Joint Tactical Communications Office (TRI-TAC), Office of the Secretary of Defense, Fort Monmouth, N.J. In June 1981 the general became director of command, control, communications and computer systems, C4S, United States Readiness Command and the Joint Deployment Agency, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.
In August 1982 General Stihl became commander of the Strategic Communications Division, Air Force Communications Command, and deputy chief of staff for communications-electronics, Headquarters Strategic Air Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. During this period, the Strategic Communications Division was awarded the General Billy M. Mitchell Award as the most outstanding division in Air Force Communications Command for 1983. He assumed his present duties in May 1984.
The general is a command pilot with 5,700 flying hours. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with eight oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Vietnam Service Medal with three service stars and Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm.
He was promoted to major general April 1, 1985, with date of rank March 1, 1981.