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First Name: Robert

Last Name: Rutherford

Birthplace: Luling, TX, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Middle Name: Lynn

Date of Birth: 11 December 1938

Rank: General

Years Served: 1961-1996
Robert Lynn Rutherford

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


Robert Lynn "Skip" Rutherford

General, U.S. Air Force

Robert Lynn Rutherford was born on 11 December 1938 in Luling, TX.

Rutherford, a distinguished graduate of Southwest Texas State University's Reserve Officer Training Corps program, entered the U.S. Air Force in 1961 after commissioning as a Second Lieutenant. While in college, he earned a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration.

After completion of pilot training, he was a flight instructor at Reese AFB, TX, where he instructed students in the T-38 Talon. In 1964, he graduated from Squadron Officer School at Maxwell AFB. From October 1966-April 1967, he was an F-4 Phantom pilot with the 479th Tactical Fighter Wing at George AFB,CA. From April-July 1967, he was an F-4 Aircraft Commander with the 4th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Eglin AFB, FL. He was then a F-4 Phantom Aircraft Commander with the 435th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand from July 1967-May 1968. During this time, he was deployed to Vietnam, where he flew 161 combat missions, including 101 over North Vietnam.


From May 1968-January 1971, he was the Operations Staff Officer, Airspace and Air Traffic Control Division, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Headquarters Air Training Command, at Randolph AFB, TX. During the period January-July 1971, he earned a degree from the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, VA. Between July 1971 and May 1972, he was Staff Officer, Colonels Group, Directorate of Personnel, at Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, DC. During the period between June 1972 and May 1973, he was the Chief, Critical Skill Management Division, Colonels Group, Directorate of Personnel, Headquarters of the U.S. Air Force, Washington, DC. From May 1973 to February 1975, he was acting-Chief, Regular General Officer Assignment Division, Directorate of Personnel, Air Force Headquarters.

Rutherford was a T-38 Talon Instructor Pilot and Commander of the 71st Flying Training Squadron, Moody AFB, GA, from February-September 1975. During the period September 1975 to July 1978, he served as the Deputy Commander for Operations, 38th Flying Training Wing; Assistant Deputy Commander for Operations, 347th Tactical Fighter Wing; Commander, 339th Tactical Fighter Squadron; and Commander, 347th Combat Support Group at Moody. From August 1978 to July 1979, he attended the Air War College at Maxwell. In 1979, he earned a Master's degree in Business Administration at Auburn University.


He served as the Deputy for Operations, 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, from July 1979 to June 1980. Robert then served as the Vice Commander, 18th Tactical Fighter Wing; Commander, 18th Tactical Fighter Group; and Commander, 18th Tactical Fighter Wing at Kadena Air Base, Japan, between June 1980 and August 1982. In September 1982, began serving as Vice Commander, Air Force Military Personnel Center, and Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Military Personnel at Randolph AFB, TX. Between September 1983 and January 1985, he served as Commander of the Air Force Recruiting Service, and Deputy Chief of Staff for Recruiting, Headquarters Air Training Command at Randolph. He was Deputy Director of Programs and Evaluation, Director of Manpower and Organization, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Programs and Resources, at Air Force Headquarters between January 1985 and March 1987. In 1986, he graduated from the National and International Security Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

From March 1987 to April 1988, he served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, and Deputy Director of Operations for the European Air Combat Operations Staff, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Ramstein Air Base, West Germany. From April 1988 to October 1989, he was Commander, 17th Air Force, Allied Sector Three, and Allied Tactical Operations Center, at Sembach Air Base, West Germany. Rutherford was Deputy Chief of Staff for Programs and Resources, Deputy Chief of Staff for Productivity and Programs, at Headquarters U.S. Air Force from October 1989 to May 1991.

Senior Commands

Between May 1991 and May 1992, Rutherford was Vice Commander of Military Airlift Command at Scott AFB, IL. In May 1992 he was the Vice Commander, Pacific Air Forces, Hickam Air Force Base, HI. On 1 February 1993, Rutherford was promoted to the four-star rank of General and made Commander, Pacific Air Forces (COMPACAF). He became Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Transportation Command (USCINCTRANS) and Commander, Air Mobility Command (COMAMC), in October 1994.

General Rutherford retired from the Air Force on 1 August 1996. During his career, he became a Command Pilot and flew over 4,000 flying hours in various airlift, tanker, fighter and trainer aircraft.

Medals and Awards

Distinguished Service Medal

Legion of Merit (2 Awards)

Distinguished Flying Cross (3 Awards)

Meritorious Service Medal (3 Awards)

Air Medal (12 Awards)

Vietnam Service Medal with 2 Service Stars

Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm

Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal


Command Pilot Badge

Promotion Dates

Second Lieutenant - 28 May 1961

First Lieutenant - 16 January 1963

Captain - 16 January 1966

Major - 1 July 1969

Lieutenant Colonel - 1 May 1973

Colonel - 1 March 1978

Brigadier General - 1 June 1983

Major General - 1 August 1986

Lieutenant General - 1 October 1989

General - 1 February 1993

Honoree ID: 828   Created by: MHOH




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