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First Name: Michael

Last Name: Ryan


Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Middle Name: E.

Date of Birth: 24 December 1941

Rank: General

Years Served: 1965-2001
Michael E. Ryan

Graduate, U.S. Air Force Academy, Class of 1965


Michael E. Ryan

General, U.S. Air Force

Michael E. Ryan was born on 24 December 1941. He is a graduate of Omaha Creighton Prep High School.

Ryan graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1965 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. He has commanded at the squadron, wing, numbered air force and major command levels. He flew combat in Southeast Asia, including 100 missions over North Vietnam.

He also served in staff assignments at the major command level, Headquarters U.S. Air Force and the Joint Staff. As Commander of Sixteenth Air Force and Allied Air Forces Southern Europe in Italy, he directed the NATO air combat operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina which directly contributed to the Dayton Peace Accords.

On 4 April 1996, Ryan was promoted to the four-star rank of General and assigned as Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Air Forces in Europe (CINCUSAFE) and Commander, Allied Air Forces Central Europe (COMAIRCENT) with headquarters at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. In 1997, he was named as Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force (CSAF). Ryan's father, General John Dale Ryan, was the 7th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force from 1969-73.

General Ryan retired from the Air Force on 1 October 2001. During his service, he became a Command Pilot with over 4,130 flight hours including 153 combat missions. The aircraft flown include the T-37, T-33, F-4C/D/E, Mirage III, Aermacchi 326, F-16A/B/C/D and C-20.


1965 Bachelor of science degree, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO.
1969 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, AL.
1970 Fighter Weapons Instructor Course, Nellis AFB, NV.
1976 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, AL.
1976 Master's degree in Business Administration, Auburn University, Auburn, AL.
1984 National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, DC.
1988 National Security Program, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.


1. June 1965 - September 1966, student, undergraduate pilot training, 3625th Student Squadron, Air Training Command, Craig AFB, AL.
2. September 1966 - October 1967, F-4 pilot, 16th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Eglin AFB, FL.
3. October 1967 - August 1968, F-4 pilot and aircraft commander, 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Udorn Royal Thai AFB, Thailand.
4. August 1968 - January 1971, F-4 aircraft commander, 7th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Holloman AFB, NM.
5. January 1971 - July 1973, exchange officer instructing in Mirage III fighters, 2nd Operational Conversion Unit, Australian AFB, Williamtown, Australia
6. July 1973 - September 1974, instructor pilot and flight commander, 311th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron, Luke AFB, Ariz.
7. September 1974 - August 1975, wing weapons officer, 8th Tactical Fighter Wing (F-4s), Kunsan Air Base, South Korea
8. August 1975 - July 1976, student, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, AL.
9. July 1976 - April 1979, staff officer, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans, Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley AFB, VA.
10. April 1979 - August 1981, commander, 61st Tactical Fighter Squadron; then assistant deputy commander for operations (F-16s), 56th Tactical Fighter Wing, MacDill AFB, FL.
11. August 1981 - August 1983, chief, CHECKMATE group; then deputy assistant director for Joint and National Security Matters, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, DC.
12. August 1983 - June 1984, student, National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, DC.
13. June 1984 - June 1986, commander, 432nd Tactical Fighter Wing, Misawa Air Base, Japan
14. June 1986 - June 1988, executive to the chief of staff, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, DC.
15. June 1988 - July 1991, deputy chief of staff, plans; then deputy chief of staff, operations, Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley AFB, VA.
16. July 1991 - May 1993, vice director for strategic plans and policy, the Joint Staff, Washington, DC.
17. May 1993 - September 1994, assistant to the chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, DC.
18. September 1994 - April 1996, commander, Allied Air Forces Southern Europe (NATO), Naples, Italy, and commander, 16th Air Force, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Aviano Air Base, Italy
19. April 1996 - October 1997, commander, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and commander, Allied Air Forces Central Europe, Ramstein Air Base, Germany
20. October 1997 - September 2001, chief of staff, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, DC.

Medals and Awards

Defense Distinguished Service Medal (3 Awards)
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal (2 Awards)
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit (3 Awards)
Distinguished Flying Cross
Meritorious Service Medal (3 Awards)
Air Medal (12 Awards)
Air Force Commendation Medal (3 Awards)
Air Force Organizational Excellence Award (6 Awards)
Vietnam Service Medal with 3 Service Stars
Aeronautical Grand Meritorious Cross, Chile
Korean Order of National Security Merit, First Class
Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, Japan
Decoration of the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Japan
Knight Grand Cross (First Class) of the Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand
Knight Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
Legion of Merit for Aerial Inter-American Confraternity in the Grade of Officer, SICOFAA
Grand Cross of Aeronautical Merit, Spain
Meritorious Service Medal (Military), Singapore
Order of Aeronautical Merit, Brazil
French National Order of the Legion of Honor (Rank of Commander)
Order of the Orange-Nassau (Rank of Commander)


Command Pilot Badge
Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge

Promotion Dates

Second Lieutenant June 9, 1965
First Lieutenant December 9, 1966
Captain June 13, 1968
Major June 1, 1976
Lieutenant Colonel April 1, 1979
Colonel July 1, 1981
Brigadier General May 1, 1988
Major General January 1, 1991
Lieutenant General May 10, 1993
General April 4, 1996

Popular Culture

General Ryan appeared as himself in the Stargate SG-1 episode Prodigy.

Honoree ID: 830   Created by: MHOH




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