Secretary of the Air Force from Jan. 2, 1976 to April 5, 1977.
Thomas C. Reed was the 11th secretary of the Air Force.
He was born in New York City, N.Y., in 1934. He received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University, graduating first in his class in 1956. As an undergraduate, he was enrolled in Cornell's Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program and was the highest ranking officer, cadet colonel, during his senior year. He was designated a distinguished military graduate and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force upon graduation.
Reed began active duty with the Air Force in November 1956, and served until 1959 as technical project officer for the Minuteman Re-Entry Vehicle System with the Air Force's Ballistic Missile Division. While on this assignment, he attended the University of Southern California during off-duty hours and earned a master of science degree in electrical engineering.
In 1959, he was assigned to the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory of the University of California, engaged in thermonuclear weapons physics. He was released from active duty with the Air Force in May 1961, but he rejoined the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory as a civilian for the 1962 test series, continuing there as a consultant until 1967.
In 1962, Reed organized Supercon Ltd. of Houston, Texas, as its managing partner. Supercon developed and produced alloys superconducting at cryogenic temperatures.
While maintaining an interest in Supercon Ltd., Reed organized the Quaker Hill Development Corporation at San Rafael, Calif., in 1965, and served as its treasurer, president and chairman. Quaker Hill has agricultural, recreational and construction projects in California and Colorado.
Reed joined the Department of Defense as an assistant to the secretary and deputy secretary of defense in 1973, and was appointed director of Telecommunications and Command and Control Systems in February 1974.