Retired Nov. 1, 1990.
Major General Peter T Kempf is commander of 12th Air Force and the U.S. Southern Command Air Forces, Bergstrom Air Force Base Texas.
General Kempf was born in 1936, in Elizabeth, N.J., and graduated from Whittier (Calif.) Union High School in 1954. He attended Whittier College for two years and earned a bachelor of arts degree in geography from the University of Nebraska in 1965. The general completed Armed Forces Staff College in 1971 and National War College in 1976.
After entering the Air Force through the aviation cadet program in January 1957, he was commissioned and awarded a navigator rating in April 1958. He then was assigned as a C-130 navigator with a troop carrier unit at Ashiya Air Base, Japan. In December 1961 the general entered pilot training at Williams Air Force Base, Ariz. He received the Air Training Command Commander's Trophy and the Orville Wright Achievement Award as the outstanding graduate. Upon graduation in February 1963, General Kempf was assigned to the 18th Military Airlift Squadron at McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., flying C-135 transports.
From June 1965 to June 1966 the general served in the Republic of Vietnam, initially as a forward air controller flying 0-1E's and an air liaison officer for Binh Thuan Province with duty at Phan Thiet. He later transferred to Da Nang Air Base in support of forward air controller operations in Laos and southern North Vietnam. After interceptor pilot training at Perrin Air Force Base, Texas, and F-4C training at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., General Kempf returned to the Republic of Vietnam in March 1967 and was assigned to Cam Ranh Bay Air Base as an F-4C pilot.
The general was assigned to the 347th Tactical Fighter Wing, Yokota Air Base, Japan, in February 1968, completing the Tactical Fighter Weapons Instructors Course en route. While assigned to Yokota he served successively as squadron weapons officer, flight commander, wing operations scheduling officer, and chief of standardization and evaluation.
After graduating from the Armed Forces Staff College in June 1971, General Kempf became an action officer in the Tactical Division, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. He served as military assistant to the special assistant to the secretary and deputy secretary of defense from November 1972 to July 1975. He completed the National War College in June 1976 and was assigned first as deputy commander for operations, then as vice commander, of the 27th Tactical Fighter Wing, Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.
In March 1978 General Kempf was named commander of the 58th Tactical Training Wing at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. He remained there until August 1979, when the wing divided into two separate wings - the 405th Tactical Training Wing and the 58th Tactical Training Wing. He transferred to Langley Air Force Base, Va., and served as director of fighter and reconnaissance operations from September 1979 to June 1980, when he became commander of the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C. General Kempf transferred to Hill Air Force Base, Utah, as commander of the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing in May 1982. In May 1983 he was assigned as commander of the 833rd Air Division, Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. He became commander of the U.S. Air Force Tactical Fighter Weapons Center, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., in September 1985. He assumed his present command in July 1988.
The general is a command pilot with more than 6,000 flying hours in 0-1E's, F-111s, F-4s, F-15s and F-16s. He has more than 1,000 combat flying hours in 0-1 E's and F-4s on 643 missions. His military decorations and awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Airman's Medal, Bronze Star Medal with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with 30 oak leaf clusters, Vietnam Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.