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First Name: Charles

Last Name: Horner

Birthplace: Davenport, IA, US

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Home of Record: Davenport, IA
Middle Name: Albert

Date of Birth: 19 October 1936

Rank: General

Years Served: 1958-1994
Charles Albert Horner

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)
•  Gulf War (1990 - 1991)


Charles Albert Horner

General, U.S. Air Force

Charles A. Horner was born on 19 October 1936 in Davenport, IA, and attended the University of Iowa where he was in the Air Force ROTC program. On 13 June 1958, Horner was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, just before his graduation from UOI. He was awarded his pilot wings in November 1959 and was given a Regular Air Force commission in 1962.

During the Vietnam War, he flew 41 combat missions over North Vietnam in the F-105 during a tour. He later flew more than 70 combat missions as an F-105 Wild Weasel pilot, deliberately drawing anti-aircraft fire to identify and destroy North Vietnamese defenses. He received the Silver Star for his actions in Vietnam.

His commands have included a tactical training wing; fighter wing; two air divisions; and a numbered Air Force. While Commander of 9th Air Force, he also Commanded U.S. Central Command Air Forces, in command of all U.S. and Allied air assets during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. During the Desert Shield phase of the conflict, Horner briefly served as Commander-in-Chief - Forward of U.S. Central Command; while General Schwarzkopf was in the U.S.

On 1 July 1992, Horner was promoted to the four-star rank of General and made Commander-in-Chief, North American Aerospace Defense Command (CINCNORAD); Commander-in-Chief U.S. Space Command (USCINCSPACE); and Commander, Air Force Space Command (COMAFSPC) at Peterson AFB, CO. He was responsible for the aerospace defense of the U.S. and Canada, and the exploitation and control of space for national purposes through a far-flung network of satellites and ground stations throughout the world.

General Horner retired from the Air Force on 30 September 1994. During his service, he became a Command Pilot with over 5,300 flying hours in F-100, F-105, F-4, F-15, and F-16 aircraft.


1958 Bachelor of Arts degree, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

1967 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, AL

1972 Master of Business Administration degree, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA

1972 Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, VA

1974 Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, DC

1976 National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, DC

Promotion dates

Second Lieutenant - 13 June 1958

First Lieutenant - 12 June 1960

Captain - 1 October 1963

Major - 1 June 1969

Lieutenant Colonel - 1 November 1973

Colonel- 1 February 1975

Brigadier General - 1 August 1982

Major General - 1 July 1985

Lieutenant General - 1 May 1987

General - 1 July 1992


October 1958 - June 1959, student, officer preflight training, Spence AFB, GA.

June 1959 - October 1960, student, pilot training, Laredo AFB, TX.

October - November 1960, student, F-100 combat crew training, Luke AFB, AZ, and Nellis AFB, NV.

November 1960 - December 1963, F-100 pilot, 492nd Tactical Fighter Squadron, Royal Air Force Station Lakenheath, England.

December 1963 - December 1965, F-105 pilot, 4th Tactical Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson AFB, NC.

June 1965 - December 1965, temporary duty as F-105 pilot, 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, Korat Royal Thai AFB, Thailand.

December 1965 - May 1967, F-105 Instructor Pilot, Nellis AFB, NV.

May 1967 - September 1967, F-105 Wild Weasel Pilot, Korat Royal Thai AFB, Thailand.

September 1967 - October 1969, F-105 Instructor Pilot, Nellis AFB, NV, then Liaison Officer, Air Force Tactical Fighter Weapons Center, Nellis AFB, NV.

October 1969 - January 1971, Air Operations Staff Officer, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans, Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley AFB, VA.

January 1972 - August 1975, Air Operations Officer, later, Chief of the Force Branch in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, DC.

August 1975 - June 1976, student, National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, DC.

June 1976 - March 1979, Deputy Commander for Operations, 4th Tactical Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson AFB, NC.

March 1979 - August 1979, Vice Commander, 58th Tactical Training Wing, Luke AFB, AZ.

August 1979 - May 1980, Commander, 405th Tactical Training Wing, Luke Air Force Base, AZ.

May 1980 - August 1981, Commander, 474th Tactical Fighter Wing, Nellis AFB, NV.

August 1981 - May 1983, Commander, 833rd Air Division, Holloman AFB, NW.

May 1983 - October 1983, Commander, 23rd North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, and Tactical Air Command Air Division, Tyndall AFB, FL.

October 1983 - May 1985, Commander, Air Force Air Defense Weapons Center, Tyndall AFB, FL.

May 1985 - March 1987, Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans, Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley AFB, VA.

March 1987 - June 1992, Commander, Ninth Air Force, and Commander, U.S. Central Command Air Forces, Shaw AFB, SC. He commanded U.S. and allied air operations for Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia from August 1990 until his return to Shaw AFB in April 1991.

June 1992 - September 1994, Commander in Chief, North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Space Command; Commander, Air Force Space Command, Peterson AFB, CO.

30 September 1994, retired from active duty.

Medals and Awards

Air Force Distinguished Service Medal (2 Awards)

Silver Star Medal (2 Awards)

Legion of Merit

Distinguished Flying Cross

Meritorious Service Medal (4 Awards)

Air Medal (11 Awards)

Air Force Commendation Medal (4 Awards)

Combat Readiness Medal

National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star

Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with Bronze Star

Vietnam Service Medal with Bronze Star

Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal


Command Pilot Badge

General Horner has been decorated with Canada's Meritorious Service Cross. He has also been honored by France, Pakistan and the sovereign states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.


1991 U.S. News Trophy

1991 History of Aviation Award

1991 Maxwell A. Kriendler Memorial Award

1991 Aviation Achievement Award

1991 Air Force Order of the Sword

1991 Aviation Week and Space Technology's Aerospace Laureate

1992 National Veteran's Award

In Retirement

He currently serves on the board of directors for the U.S. Institute of Peace.

He co-wrote Every Man a Tiger with Tom Clancy. In 2004, Horner served on a Pentagon team that looked into detainee abuse.

The U.S. Air Force awards a General Charles A. Horner "Tiger Award" to one officer and one enlisted individual assigned to the Fourteenth Air Force annually. Recipients of the prestigious "Tiger Award" demonstrate the highest degree of professionalism, leadership, integrity, dedication, and courage in the performance of their duties and conduct of their lives.

General Horner currently resides in Lake Lorraine, FL, with a Shalimar, FL, address.

Honoree ID: 747   Created by: MHOH




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