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First Name: Kevin

Last Name: Chilton

Birthplace: Los Angeles, CA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Middle Name: Patrick

Date of Birth: 03 November 1954

Rank: General

Years Served:
Kevin Patrick Chilton

Graduate, U.S. Air Force Academy, Class of 1976


Kevin Patrick "Chilli" Chilton

General, U.S. Air Force

Kevin Patrick "Chilli" Chilton was born on 3 November 1954 in Los Angeles, CA. He graduated from St. Bernard High School, Playa del Rey, CA, in 1972.

Early Air Force Career

Chilton received his commission from the USAF Academy in 1976. After receiving his wings at Williams AFB, AZ, in 1978, he qualified in the RF-4C Phantom II and was assigned to the 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron at Kadena AB, Japan. From 1978-80, he served as a combat-ready pilot and Instructor pilot in the RF-4C in Korea, Japan, and the Philippines.

In 1981, he converted to the F-15 Eagle and was assigned to the 67th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Kadena AB as a squadron pilot. In 1982, Chilton attended the USAF Squadron Officer School at Maxwell AFB, AL, and finished as the number one graduate for the year, receiving the Secretary of the Air Force Leadership Award.

Subsequently assigned to the 9th and 7th Tactical Fighter Squadrons at Holloman AFB, NM, Chilton served as an F-15 Squadron Weapons Officer, Instructor Pilot, and Flight Commander until 1984 when selected for the USAF Test Pilot School. He graduated number one in his class to win the Liethen-Tittle Award as the Outstanding Test Pilot at the school.

Chilton was assigned to Eglin AFB, FL, where he conducted weapons and systems tests in all models of the F-15 and F-4. While a member of the 3247th Test Squadron, Chilton served as Squadron Safety Officer, as Chief of Test and Evaluation, and as Squadron Operations Officer.

NASA Career

In August 1987, Chilton was assigned to NASA and became an Astronaut in August 1988, qualifying for assignment as a pilot on Space Shuttle flight crews.

Chilton held a variety of technical assignments. He served in the Mission Development Branch of the Astronaut Office in support of the Infrared Background Signature Survey (IBSS) satellite, and the Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle (OMV) programs. He was the Astronaut Office T-38 Safety Officer, Leader of the Astronaut Support Personnel team at the Kennedy Space Center and was Lead Spacecraft Communicator (CAPCOM) for numerous shuttle flights.

Chilton also served as Deputy Program Manager for the early International Space Station program. A veteran of three space flights, Chilton logged more than 704 hours in space. He was the Pilot on STS-49 for the maiden voyage of Space Shuttle Endeavour (7-16 May 1992), and STS-59 on the Space Radar Laboratory (SRL) mission (9-20 April 1994). He commanded STS-76 on the third docking mission to the Russian space station Mir in 1996.

Resumption of Air Force Career

Chilton left NASA in 1998 to become Deputy Director, Political Military Affairs for Asia, Pacific, and Middle East. His first military command was the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale AFB, CA, from May 1999 to September 2000.

In August 2005, Chilton assumed the dual duties of Commander, Eighth Air Force and Commander, Joint Functional Component Commander for Space and Global Strike, U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt AFB, NE.

On 26 June 2006, Chilton was promoted to the rank of four-star General and was named Commander of Air Force Space Command at Peterson AFB, CO. Chilton took Command of U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt AFB, NE, in October 2007.

General Chilton retired from the Air Force on 1 February 2011.

Chilton is the only former astronaut to achieve four-star rank. Lt Gen Tom Stafford, VADM Dick Truly and Lt Gen Susan Helms attained three-star rank.


1976 Distinguished graduate, Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Science, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO.
1977 Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, Columbia University, New York, NY.
1982 Distinguished graduate, Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, AL.
1984 Distinguished graduate, U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School, Edwards AFB, CA.
1985 Air Command and Staff College, by correspondence
2001 Air War College, by correspondence


1. May 1977 - May 1978, student, undergraduate pilot training, Williams AFB, AZ.
2. May 1978 - August 1978, student, RF-4C Replacement Training Unit, Shaw AFB, SC.
3. August 1978 - November 1980, RF-4C pilot and instructor pilot, 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Kadena AB, Japan.
4. November 1980 - August 1982, F-15C pilot, 67th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Kadena AB, Japan 5. August 1982 - October 1982, student, Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, AL.
6. October 1982 - December 1983, F-15A pilot, instructor pilot and flight commander, 9th and 7th tactical fighter squadrons, Holloman AFB, NM.
7. January 1984 - December 1984, student, U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School, Edwards AFB, CA.
8. January 1985 - August 1987, test pilot and operations officer, 3247th Test Squadron, Eglin AFB, FL.
9. August 1987 - August 1988, astronaut candidate, NASA, Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX.
10. August 1988 - May 1996, astronaut, NASA, Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX.
11. May 1996 - August 1998, Deputy Program Manager of Operations, International Space Station Program, NASA, Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX.
12. August 1998 - May 1999, Deputy Director of Operations, Headquarters Air Force Space Command, Peterson AFB, CO.
13. May 1999 - September 2000, Commander, 9th Reconnaissance Wing, Beale AFB, CA.
14. October 2000 - April 2002, Director of Politico-Military Affairs, Asia-Pacific and Middle East, Joint Staff, Washington.
15. April 2002 - August 2004, Director of Programs, Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Programs, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington.
16. August 2004 - August 2005, acting Assistant Vice Chief of Staff, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington.
17. August 2005 - June 2006, Commander, 8th Air Force, Barksdale AFB, LA, and Joint Functional Component Commander for Space and Global Strike, U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt AFB, NE.
18. June 2006 - September 2007, Commander, Air Force Space Command, Peterson AFB, CO.
19. October 2007 - 1 February 2011, Commander, U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt AFB, NE.

Summary of Joint Assignments

1. October 2000 - April 2002, Director of Politico-Military Affairs, Asia-Pacific and Middle East, Joint Staff, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., as a Brigadier and Major general
2. October 2007 - 1 February 2011, Commander, U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt AFB, NE, as a General

Flight Information

Rating: Command Astronaut Pilot
Flight hours: Over 5,000
Aircraft flown: F-4C/D/E, F-15A/B/C/D, OV-104A and OV-105A, RF-4C, T-38, U-2, VC-11, B-52H and Space Shuttles Atlantis and Endeavour.

Promotion Dates

Second Lieutenant June 2, 1976
First Lieutenant June 2, 1978
Captain June 2, 1980
Major May 2, 1985
Lieutenant Colonel June 2, 1989
Colonel Jan. 1, 1993
Brigadier General May 1, 1999
Major General April 1, 2002
Lieutenant General Aug. 9, 2005
General June 26, 2006

Medals and Awards

Air Force Distinguished Service Medal (2 Awards)

Defense Superior Service Medal (3 Awards)

Legion of Merit (2 Awards)

Distinguished Flying Cross

Defense Meritorious Service Medal

Meritorious Service Medal (2 Awards)

Air Force Commendation Medal

Outstanding Unit Award (2 Awards)

Organizational Excellence Award (2 Awards)

Combat Readiness Medal

Air Force Recognition Ribbon

NASA Space Flight Medal (3 Awards)

NASA Exceptional Service Medal

NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal

National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Service Star

Global War on Terrorism Service Medal

Korea Defense Service Medal

Air Force Overseas Short Tour Service Ribbon

Air Force Longevity Service Award (8 Awards)

Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon

Air Force Training Ribbon


Master Astronaut Badge

Master Space and Missile Operations Badge

Master Missile Operations Badge


Guggenheim Fellow
Commander's Trophy, Undergraduate Pilot Training
1982 Secretary of the Air Force Leadership Award
1984 Liethen-Tittle Award for Top Graduate, U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School
National Space Trophy

NASA "Top Fox" Flight Safety Award

In Retirement

On 30 January 2012 General Chilton was named to the board of directors of Orbital Sciences Corporation.


An accomplished guitarist, Chilton spent a portion of his spare time hammering out riffs on a Fender Stratocaster while jamming with the all-astronaut band, "Max Q."

Origin of Nickname/Handle:
Flight handle based on a variance of his last name.

Honoree ID: 694   Created by: MHOH




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