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First Name: Thomas

Last Name: Ryan

Birthplace: Detroit, MI, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Middle Name: M.

Date of Birth: 10 December 1928

Rank: General

Years Served:
Thomas M. Ryan, Jr.

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Thomas M. Ryan, Jr.

General, U.S. Air Force

Thomas M. Ryan, Jr. was born on 10 December 1928 in Detroit, MI. He graduated from Ridgewood High School in Ridgewood, NJ, in 1946.

Ryan's military career began as an aviation cadet in September 1949 and, after completing pilot training at Reese AFB, TX, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force in October 1950. He then served in various flying assignments with the Strategic Air Command at Barksdale AFB, LA; Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico; and Hunter AFB, GA, until July 1953 when he entered Observer Training School at Ellington and James Connally AFBs, TX.

From May 1954 to June 1962, he was assigned to Forbes AFB, KS, as a B-47 pilot, Select Crew Aircraft Commander, Instructor Pilot and Squadron Operations Officer. In 1958, he became a Standardization Evaluator in the 90th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing.

Ryan transferred to SAC Headquarters at Offutt AFB, NE, in June 1962 as a staff officer in the Plans and Organizational Section of the Weapons Management Branch, Weapons Maintenance Division. In February 1965, he entered the Armed Forces Staff College and following graduation in July 1965, he joined the SR-71 equipped 4200th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Beale AFB, CA, where he served as Chief of the Quality Control Division and later as Chief of the Maintenance Control Division.

In July 1968, he graduated from the Air War College and then attended RF-4C combat crew training at Shaw AFB, SC. In March 1969, he was assigned to the 432nd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Udorn Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, as a Maintenance Control Officer and later as Chief of Maintenance. During this tour of duty he flew 114 combat missions in RF-4Cs.

Upon his return to the U.S., Ryan served on the staff of the Inspector General, Headquarters USAF, Washington, DC, from April 1970 to June 1971. He then transferred to Wurtsmith AFB, MI, as Vice Commander and then Commander of the 379th Bombardment Wing. During 1972 and 1973, he completed a temporary tour of duty as Commander, 303rd Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Wing at Andersen AFB, Guam, and participated in the Linebacker II campaign against North Vietnam in December 1972.

He assumed duties as Commander of the 47th Air Division with headquarters at Fairchild AFB, WA, in July 1973. Ryan was again assigned to SAC headquarters in January 1974 as Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics and in January 1975 become the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics.

He returned to Air Force Headquarters in April 1976 as Director for Logistics Plans and Programs, and in July 1977 become the Deputy Chief of Staff for Systems and Logistics. From October 1977 to July 1981, Ryan served as Vice Commander in Chief of the Military Airlift Command at Scott AFB.

On 31 July 1981, Ryan was promoted to the four-star rank of General and the next day became Commander of Air Training Command at Randolph AFB, TX. He assumed command of Military Airlift Command in June 1983.

General Ryan retired from the Air Force on 30 September 1985. During his service, Ryan became a Command Pilot with over 8,000 flying hours.

While in the Air Force, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Military Science from the University of Omaha in 1965, and a Master of Science degree in International Affairs from George Washington University, Washington, DC, in 1968. He graduated from the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, VA, in 1965 and from the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, AL, in 1968.

Medals and Awards

Defense Distinguished Service Medal

Air Force Distinguished Service Medal

Legion of Merit

Distinguished Flying Cross

Bronze Star Medal

Air Medal (7 Awards)

Air Force Commendation Medal (4 Awards)


Command Pilot Badge

Honoree ID: 831   Created by: MHOH




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