Retired Jan. 1, 1992.
Major General Joseph A. Ahearn is the civil engineer, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
General Ahearn was born in Galesburg, Ill., in 1936, and graduated from St. Louis University High School in 1954. He received a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 1958 and a master's degree in engineering administration from Syracuse University in 1967. He completed the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1979.
Upon graduation from Notre Dame he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program. His first duty assignment was with the Strategic Air Command, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., where he served as a construction engineer and programmer until 1962. He then was assigned to Goose Air Base, Labrador, as chief of engineering, design and construction. In November 1963 General Ahearn transferred to Headquarters 8th Air Force, Westover Air Force Base. Mass., as a missile maintenance engineer and became director of engineering and construction in November 1964.
In August 1967 he was assigned to Headquarters European Security Region, Frankfurt, West Germany, as chief of civil engineering programs. From November 1970 to September 1971 General Ahearn served as deputy commander, and then as commander, of the 554th RED HORSE (Rapid Engineer Deployable, Heavy Operations Repair Squadrons, Engineer) Squadron, Cam Ranh Bay Air Base, South Vietnam. He then was assigned as base civil engineer and squadron commander at Craig Air Force Base, Ala. In July 1974 he transferred to Headquarters Air Training Command, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, as the inspector general's civil engineer staff officer.
In July 1976 General Ahearn was assigned to Air Force headquarters, first as an action officer in the Directorate of Engineering and Services, then as chief of the Housing Division. After graduating from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in June 1979, he returned to Air Force headquarters as chief of the Programs Division. In June 1983 General Ahearn transferred to Ramstein Air Base, West Germany, as deputy chief of staff for engineering and services at Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe. In June 1986 he was assigned as deputy director and in March 1989 became director of engineering and services, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics and Engineering, Air Force headquarters. He assumed his present duties in February 1991. The Office of the Civil Engineer is aligned under the Office of the Chief of Staff, Air Force headquarters.
His military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with "V" device, Federal Republic of Germany Army Cross of Honor in Gold and Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal. In 1984 General Ahearn was awarded the Society of American Military Engineers Newman Medal for his outstanding military engineering contributions in Europe.
Throughout his military career General Ahearn has fostered growth through participation in professional societies. He is associated with the American Society of Civil Engineers, Civil Engineering Research Foundation, Society of American Military Engineers, National Society of Professional Engineers, Professional Housing Management Association, American Public Works Association and the Services Society. He is also a member of the Centurions of the Archdiocese for the Military Services of the United States. He has received numerous awards and recognition for his professional contributions. Most notable are membership in Tau Beta Pi, honorary fraternity for engineering achievement; the University of Notre Dame College of Engineering Honor Award for professional achievement; and honorary member of the American Institute of Architects for outstanding contributions to the profession. The general is a registered professional engineer in the commonwealth of Massachusetts.
He was promoted to major general March 23, 1988, with same date of rank.