Retired Dec. 1, 1978. Died April 16, 2003.
Major General Timothy I. Ahern is assistant deputy chief of staff for research and development, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
General Ahern was born in New Haven, Conn., in 1924. He entered New Haven State Teachers College in September 1940 at the age of 15, and in 1943 enlisted as an aviation cadet. He completed pilot training in the Eastern Flying Training Command and was commissioned a second lieutenant in February 1944.
He completed B-17 aircraft training at MacDill Field, Fla., and in July 1944 was assigned to the 731st Bombardment Squadron of the 8th Air Force in England. In August 1944, while on a bombing mission over Germany, he was shot down by anti-aircraft fire and taken prisoner of war. During the winter of 1944, he participated in the forced march from Stalag Luft III (a prisoner of war camp 90 miles east of Berlin) to Stalag VII A, near Moosburg, Germany. He was released in April 1945 when Stalag VII A was overrun by the U.S. 3d Army.
In August 1945, General Ahern was transferred to Enid Army Air Field, Okla., for B-25 refresher training. He later served as public relations officer for the 2518th Army Air Forces Base Unit at Enid.
He was transferred to the 2000th AAFBU at Barksdale, La., in February 1947, as public relations officer and later became assistant public information officer for Headquarters Air Training Command. While there he also flew P-51 and B-26 aircraft. In 1948 he attended Air Tactical School, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. Following completion of the school, he returned to Barksdale and served as assistant public information officer, and later as executive administrative officer for Headquarters Air Force Training Command.
General Ahern moved to Scott Air Force Base, Ill., in December 1949 when Headquarters Air Force Training Command was relocated at that base, and the name changed to Headquarters Air Training Command. He served as an executive administrative officer in public information until his transfer to Tyndall in September 1950. At Tyndall he completed the Air Force Instrument Pilot Instructor School and remained as an instrument flight instructor in B-25 and T-33 aircraft.
He was transferred to Moody Air Force Base, Ga., in December 1951, when the Instrument Pilot Instructor School was moved to that location.
General Ahern returned to Headquarters Air Training Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., in June 1953 and served as special assistant to the commander. In July 1954, he was transferred to Headquarters United States Air Force, Washington, D.C., as assistant executive officer to the vice chief of staff, U.S. Air Force, General Thomas D. White. His responsibilities also included duty as a pilot. When General White was named chief of staff, U.S. Air Force in 1957, General Ahern assumed additional duty as aide-de-camp to General White, continuing in that position until July 1960.
He attended the first advanced interceptor pilot training class in the F-102A at Perrin Air Force Base, Texas, from August 1960 to February 1961. He was then assigned as assistant director of operations, Headquarters Chicago Air Defense Sector, and later was commander, 325th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, Truax Field, Wis. General Ahern and his squadron were deployed to Homestead Air Force Base, Fla., during the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962.
In 1963 he attended the Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., and was named a distinguished graduate. In July 1964, he was assigned as commander, 57th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, Keflavik, Iceland. In June 1965, after his tour in Iceland, he was assigned to Headquarters Air Defense Command, Ent Air Force Base, Colo., first as operations staff officer and subsequently as chief, Planning Division in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans. Later he was assigned as deputy director of operational readiness inspection in the Office of the Inspector General. In 1967 he attended and graduated from the Advanced Management Program, Graduate School of Business Administration, Harvard University.
In February 1968, General Ahern was named commander of the 57th Fighter Group, Paine Field, Wash. In September 1968, he was transferred to Washington, D.C., as program manager for the Continental United States Air Defense Modernization Program, Directorate of Development, Deputy Chief of Staff for Research and Development, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. This was a program to modernize the U.S. air defense forces with the Airborne Warning and Control System, Over-the-Horizon Backscatter Radar, and an improved manned interceptor. In May 1970, General Ahern assumed duty as chief, Defense Division, Directorate of Operational Requirements and Development Plans, Headquartaers U.S. Air Force.
In February 1973, General Ahern was named deputy commander, 22d NORAD Region, North Bay, Ontario, Canada. In June 1973, he became deputy chief of staff, plans for Aerospace Defense Command, at Colorado Springs, Colo. With the consolidation of the North American Air Defense Command, the Continental Air Defense Command, and ADC Headquarters, General Ahern was named assistant deputy chief of staff, programs and requirements, and in April 1974 was elevated to the post of deputy chief of staff, plans and programs for NORAD and ADC. He became director, operational requirements, Deputy Chief of Staff, Research and Development, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Sept. 1, 1975. On Feb. 1, 1977, he became assistant deputy chief of staff, research and development.
His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Air Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon.
General Ahern was promoted to the grade of major general Aug. 1, 1974, with date of rank March 1, 1972.