Military Bios

Major General W. Thomas West:

Military Branch:United States Airforce
Retired May 1, 1997.  
Major General W. Thomas West is commander of the 19th Air Force, Air Education and Training Command, headquartered at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. He is responsible for the training continuum for more than 2,000 U.S. and allied students each day, from entry into the flight screening program through graduation from combat crew training as fully qualified aircrews for the warfighting commands. He assesses graduate readiness to support world-wide contingencies and mobilization plans for Air Education and Training Command units. The 19th Air Force is composed of more than 25,000 assigned personnel and 1,600 aircraft in 18 units throughout the United States.
A native of Headland, Ala., he entered the Air Force in July 1966 as a distinguished graduate of the Florida State University Reserve Officer Training Corps program. His flight experience includes tours as an F-100 pilot; A-7 pilot and fighter weapons instructor; F-4 flight commander and squadron operations officer; and F-16 squadron and wing commander. A command pilot with more than 3,500 flying hours, the general logged 343 combat hours over Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. He has commanded three fighter wings and has served tours on the Air Staff and at the unified command level.
1965 Bachelor of science degree in business administration, Florida State University
1972 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
1976 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
1976 Master's degree in psychology, Troy State University, Ala.
1986 National War College, Washington, D.C.
1. August 1966 - July 1967, student, undergraduate pilot training, Craig Air Force Base, Ala.
2. August 1967 - June 1968, student, Air Force Operational Training Course, (F-100), Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.
3. June 1968 - July 1969, F-100 pilot, 510th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Bien Hoa Air Base, Republic of Vietnam
4. July 1969 - March 1971, F-100 pilot, forward air controller, maintenance officer, 77th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Royal Air Force Station Wethersfield and Royal Air Force Station Upper Heyford, England
5. March 1971 - April 1973, A-7D pilot and standardization and evaluation flight examiner, 356th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, S.C.
6. April 1973 - August 1973, A-7D pilot, Air Force Fighter Weapons School, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
7. August 1973 - August 1975, A-7D fighter weapons instructor pilot, 65th Fighter Weapons Squadron, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
8. August 1975 - August 1976, student, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
9. August 1976 - November 1976, pilot, F-4E conversion training, Homestead Air Force Base, Fla.
10. November 1976 - January 1980, F-4E flight commander, chief of standardization, operations officer, 3rd Tactical Fighter Squadron, Clark Air Base, Philippines
11. January 1980 - February 1981, operations officer, 414th Fighter Weapons Squadron, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
12. February 1981 - February 1983, commander, 430th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
13. March 1983 - July 1983, special assistant to the commander, 474th Tactical Fighter Wing, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
14. July 1983 - August 1984, chief, tactics and training branch, tactical forces division, directorate of operations, plans and operations deputate, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
15. August 1984 - August 1985, executive officer to the director of operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
16. August 1985 - June 1986, student, National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
17. June 1986 - August 1987, vice commander, 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, Hill Air Force Base, Utah
18. August 1987 - April 1988, commander, 58th Tactical Fighter Wing, Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.
19. April 1988 - May 1990, commander, 31st Tactical Fighter Wing, Homestead Air Force Base, Fla.
20. May 1990 - November 1991, commander, 57th Fighter Weapons Wing, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
21. November 1991 - October 1993, deputy director for operations, commander in chief, U.S. Pacific Command, Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii
22. November 1993 - November 1995, special assistant for theater air defense, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
23. November 1995 - present, commander, 19th Air Force, Headquarters Air Education and Training Command, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas
Rating: Command pilot
Flight hours: More than 3,500
Aircraft flown: F-100, A-7, F-4, F-16 and T-38
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross
Meritorious Service Medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters
Air Medal with two silver oak leaf clusters and four bronze oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal
Presidential Unit Citation
Vietnam Service Medal with four bronze service stars
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
Second Lieutenant Aug 12, 1965
First Lieutenant Aug 12, 1967
Captain Feb 12, 1969
Major Jun 1, 1976
Lieutenant Colonel Sep 1, 1980
Colonel Aug 1, 1985
Brigadier General Mar 1, 1991
Major General Aug 1, 1993


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