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First Name: Stephen

Last Name: Croker

Birthplace: Evanston, IL, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Home of Record: Dubuque, IA
Middle Name: B.

Date of Birth:

Rank: Lieutenant General

Years Served: 1964-1996
Stephen B. Croker

Graduate, U.S. Air Force Academy, Class of 1964

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Stephen B. Croaker

Lieutenant General, U.S. Air Force

Stephen B. Croaker was born in Evanston, IL, and graduated from high school in Dubuque, IA, in 1960. He attended the U.S. Air Force Academy and graduated with the Class of 1964. After receiving his commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force on 3 June 1964, he attended Georgetown University in Washington, DC, where he earned a Master's Degree in International Relations in 1965.

Military Service

Croaker was then assigned to pilot training at Reese Air Force Base, TX, from March 1965 to November 1966. While in pilot training, he was promoted to First Lieutenant on 3 December 1965. He then joined the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing at Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base in Thailand, where he served from November 1966 - August 1967. During this time, he flew 100 combat missions over North Vietnam and is credited with destroying two MiG-17s.

Upon returning to the U.S., he was an aide to the Vice Commander, 14th Air Force, Air Defense Command, at Gunter Air Force Base, AL, from August 1967 - January 1968. He was promoted to Captain on 3 December 1967. His next assignment was as Flight Commander of the 87th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, Air Defense Command at Duluth International Airport, MN. In 1969 he attended the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in Washington, DC. During the period, December 1970 - January 1972, he was Executive Officer to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force in Washington, DC. He was promoted to Major on 1 January 1972.

From January to June 1972, he attended the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, VA. He then underwent FB-111 combat crew training at Plattsburgh Air Force Base, NY, until March 1973.

Croaker next served as an FB-111 aircraft commander with the 393rd Bombardment Squadron at Pease Air Force Base, NH, until July 1974. In 1974, he received his Master's Degree in Business Administration through the Golden Gate University Extension Program. During the next two years, he was aide to the Commander-in-Chief, Headquarters Strategic Air Command, Offutt Air Force Base, NE. On 1 April 1976, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. In 1976, he also attended the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, AL.

During the period, July 1976 - June 1979, he was Commander, 509th Organizational Maintenance Squadron; then Commander, 715th Bombardment Squadron; then Assistant Deputy Commander for Operations; with the 509th Bombardment Wing at Pease Air Force Base, NH. He was transferred to Washington in June 1979 where he served as Chief, Strategic Negotiations Branch, and then as Chief of the Western Hemisphere Division for the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, until August 1982. He was promoted to Colonel on 1 February 1980.

In August 1982 he was sent to the 97th Bombardment Wing at Blytheville Air Force Base, AR, as its Vice Commander. Then, from January 1984 to April 1985, he was the Wing Commander.

Croaker returned to Washington, DC, in April 1985 as Air Force member of the Chairman's Staff Group, Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. On 1 July 1987, he received his first star as a Brigadier General and became Military Assistant to the President's Special Envoy for POW/MIA Affairs.

In October 1987, he was appointed Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans, Headquarters Strategic Air Command at Offutt Air Force Base, NE. Then, from August 1988 to September 1989, he was elevated to Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans.

He received his second star as a Major General on 1 November 1989 and served as Director of Strategic, Special Operations Forces and Airlift Programs, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition in Washington, until January 1992.

From January - June 1992, he was Commander, Air Combat Command (Provisional) at Langley Air Force Base, VA. In July 1992, he became Vice Commander, Air Combat Command and, after his promotion to Lieutenant General on 8 October 1992, he was made Vice Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Air Forces Atlantic, also at Langley Air Force Base.

From August 1993 until his retirement, he was Commander of 8th Air Force at Barksdale Air Force Base, LA.

During the period 1980 through 1987, Croaker increased his education with the following:

1980 State Department Senior Seminar, Washington, DC
1986 Advanced Management Program, Indiana University
1987 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Seminar XXI Fellowship

He retired from active duty on 1 April 1996.

Flight Information

Lieutenant General Croaker ended his military career as a Command Pilot with more than 3,500 flying hours in fighter, bomber and tanker aircraft.

Aircraft flown include: B-52, C-130, F-4, F-102, F-106, F-111, FB-111, EC-135, KC-135, T-33 and T-39.

Medals and Awards

Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster (2 Awards)
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters (3 Awards)
Meritorious Service Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster (2 Awards)
Air Medal with 12 Oak Leaf Clusters (13 Awards)
Air Force Commendation Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters (3 Awards)
National Defense Service Medal with 1 Service Star
Vietnam Service Medal with 2 Service Stars
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

In Retirement

Following his retirement from active duty, Croker trained officers and their staffs from the 26 nations of NATO, as well as all U.S. military services, in joint warfare.

In 1996, Croaker joined the board of directors of United Services Automobile Association(USAA), a Fortune 500 financial services company. As a member of the USAA board, Croker has served on the Personnel and Membership Committee and he is currently a member of the Finance and Audit Committee.

Currently, Croker assists the local school superintendent and area small businesses with strategic planning and assessment. He is also an apprentice furniture maker.

Honoree ID: 3271   Created by: MHOH




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