Retired July 1, 1990.
Major General Joseph K. Stapleton is deputy inspector general of the U.S. Air Force, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Washington, D.C.
General Stapleton was born in 1937, in Lakeland, Fla., and graduated from Bartow (Fla.) High School in 1955. He received a bachelor's degree in business management from Hampton Institute in 1975. The general completed Air Command and Staff College in 1971, Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1974 and the Air War College in 1980.
He earned his commission and navigator wings in 1960 through the Aviation Cadet Program at Harlingen Air Force Base, Texas. After one tour as an electronic warfare officer with the 410th Bombardment Wing at K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base, Mich., General Stapleton was assigned to the 64th Flying Training Wing, Reese Air Force Base, Texas, for pilot training. Upon graduation in March 1965, he was awarded his wings and assigned as an RF-4C commander with the 10th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, Royal Air Force Station Alconbury, England.
In July 1968 General Stapleton transferred to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., where he served as an F-111 aircraft commander with the 474th Tactical Fighter Wing until he entered Air Command and Staff College in July 1970. Upon completion, the general was assigned as chief, Standardization and Evaluation Division, 432nd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. From September 1972 to July 1975 he served as a requirements project officer for the F-111 at Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va.
He then returned to Nellis Air Force Base as operations officer and squadron commander with the 429th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 474th Tactical Fighter Wing. In July 1977 he transferred to the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, serving as commander of the 389th Tactical Fighter Squadron and assistant deputy commander for operations of the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing. Upon graduation from Air War College in July 1980, he returned to Mountain Home as deputy commander for operations for the wing. General Stapleton became the wing's vice commander in July 1981.
In July 1982 the general was assigned as vice commander of the 27th Tactical Fighter Wing at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., and assumed command of the wing in September 1982. He served as commander of the 554th Operations Support Wing, Nellis, from May 1984 to May 1985. He then was assigned as deputy director of operations, Readiness Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. In July 1987 the general became director of aerospace safety, Headquarters Air Force Inspection and Safety Center, Norton Air Force Base, Calif. He assumed his present duties in June 1988.
The general is a command pilot with more than 4,900 flying hours in aircraft including A-10s, F-16s, F-111s and RF-4C's, and completed 191 combat missions. His military decorations and awards include the Silver Star, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with three oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with nine oak leaf clusters, and Combat Readiness Medal.
He was promoted to major general July 1, 1989, with same date of rank.