Retired June 1, 1987.
Major General Thomas A. LaPlante is director of logistics plans and programs, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Logistics and Engineering, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
General LaPlante was born in 1938, in Easthampton, Mass., where he graduated from high school in 1956. He attended the University of Massachusetts for one year prior to receiving an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy. He graduated from the academy with a bachelor of science degree in 1961 and earned a master's degree in physics and metallurgy from Ohio State University in 1970. The general completed Squadron Officer School in 1965, Armed Forces Staff College in 1973 and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1978.
Upon graduation from the academy in June 1961, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Force and awarded his navigator wings. General LaPlante was then assigned as a navigator in C-124s at Dover Air Force Base, Del. In January 1963 he entered pilot training at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., and was awarded his pilot's wings in February 1964. He subsequently was assigned to Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, as a T-37 instructor pilot. From May 1968 to January 1969 General LaPlante served as an RF-4C commander with the 14th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. During this tour of duty he flew 167 combat missions, including 100 over North Vietnam.
After completing his graduate studies at Ohio State University in January 1971 through the Air Force Institute of Technology program, General LaPlante was assigned as the Air Logistics Center liaison engineering officer for development of the B-1 bomber, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. In July 1972 he entered the Armed Forces Staff College and upon graduation in January 1973 was assigned to the Directorate of Maintenance, Engineering and Supply, at Air Force headquarters. In June 1975 he transferred to Fort Hood, Texas, as a tactical air liaison officer for the III Corps commander, flying O-2s.
Entering the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in July 1977, General LaPlante graduated in July 1978 and then was assigned as chief of the Propulsion Management Division, Directorate of Materiel Management, Kelly Air Force Base, Texas. His contributions to the support of the F-100 engine for F-15s and F-16s were recognized by his receipt of the 1980 Jabara Award from the Air Force Academy. The Jabara Award is presented annually by the academy to the graduate who has contributed the most to airmanship in the Air Force.
In September 1980 the general was assigned to Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, as director of distribution and, later, served as director of materiel management, Robins Air Force Base, Ga. From February 1982 until September 1984 he was assigned to Headquarters Air Force Logistics Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. While there he served as vice commander of the Air Force Acquisition Logistics Division, then as assistant deputy chief of staff for logistics operations and, later, as commander of the Logistics Operations Center. He then became the deputy chief of staff for logistics, Pacific Air Forces, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. He assumed his present duties in September 1986.
The general is a senior pilot with more than 2,500 flying hours as a pilot and 1,500 hours as a navigator. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with 12 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal and Army Commendation Medal.
He was promoted to major general Aug. 1, 1986, with same date of rank.