Military Bios

Major General Kenneth R. Chapman:

Military Branch:United States Airforce
Retired May 1, 1975.   Died Feb. 13, 1994.
Major General Kenneth R. Chapman is the assistant deputy chief of staff, research and development, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
General Chapman was born in Summerfield, Kan., in 1923, and graduated from Abilene High School, Abilene, Kan. He attended Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan., from 1941 to 1943; entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in June 1943; and graduated in June 1946 as a second lieutenant with a pilot rating. He completed advanced pilot training in October 1946.
This was followed by an assignment to Strategic Air Command as a B-29 pilot at Smoky Hill Army Air Field, Kan., and later overseas. In September 1948 General Chapman went to Biggs Air Force Base, Texas, where he was a B-29 pilot for the 342d Bombardment Squadron, 97th Bombardment Group. During this time, he also attended a special training course for nuclear weapons. He transferred to Sandia Base, N.M., in April 1949, where he became an instructor in the Nuclear Weapons Orientation Course.
In 1952 he entered the University of California at Berkeley under the Air Force Institute of Technology program and in 1954 received a master of science degree in nuclear chemistry. In July 1954 he went to the Air Force Special Weapons Center at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., where he served as a project officer; then assistant chief, Research Division; and later as a staff scientist at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratories to work on the newly conceived nuclear rocket program.
In June 1958 he was transferred to Indian Springs Air Force Auxiliary Field, Nev., as commander of the 4935th Air Base Group. At the same time, he served as a consultant in the nuclear rocket program at Jackass Flats, Nev. Indian Springs Air Force Auxiliary Field at that time had the responsibility for providing support to the Continental Nuclear Test Program and for operating the ranges associated with the Tactical Gunnery School at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
In 1959 General Chapman was assigned again to the Research Directorate of the Air Force Special Weapons Center as an analyst and later as chief of the Special Projects Division, which at that time was conducting space physics research by use of both satellite and probe payloads. In 1962 General Chapman served as the director of the Special Weapons Center programs for Operation Fishbowl, the overseas nuclear test. During 1963 he attended the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Va.
He became deputy branch chief, Space Nuclear Auxiliary Power Program Reactor Branch, Division of Reactor Development, Atomic Energy Commission, Germantown, Md., in July 1963. He graduated from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Washington, D.C., in 1966.
In July 1966 he was assigned to the Directorate of Operational Requirements and Development Plans, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., where he became chief of the Nuclear Ordnance Group, then deputy director for requirements plans and analysis. He became deputy chief of staff for development plans, Headquarters Air Force Systems Command, Andrews Air Force Base, Md., in September 1970. He was assigned as commander of the Air Force Eastern Test Range at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., in May 1973, with additional duties as Department of Defense manager for Manned Space Flight Support Operations.
In August 1974 General Chapman returned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as the assistant deputy chief of staff, research and development.
His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, and Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters. He is a command pilot, and wears the Master Missleman Badge.
His hometown is Abilene, Kan.
He was promoted to the grade of major general effective Sept. 1, 1972, with date of rank July 1, 1969.


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