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Supreme Allied Commander Europe

General Joseph W. Ralston, US AF

2000 -


General Joseph W. Ralston, US AF, became the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) on 3 May 2000. He is also the Commander-in-Chief, United States European Command.

Before this assignment, General Ralston was the vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Pentagon, Washington D.C. In this capacity, he was the second highest-ranking military officer in the USA. The general entered the Air Force in 1965 through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program. His career includes operational command at squadron, wing, numbered air force and major command, as well as a variety of influential staff and management positions at every level of the Air Force. He has been closely involved with building the US Air Force of the 21st century, holding a variety of positions related to the requirements and acquisition process. He is a command pilot with more than 2,500 flying hours, including 147 combat missions over Laos and North Vietnam.

Education:

1965 Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry, Miami University, Ohio
1976 Master of Arts degree in personnel management, Central Michigan University
1976 Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
1984 National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
1989 John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Mass.

Assignments:

Jul 65-Aug 66
Student, pilot training, Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas
Aug 66-Apr 67 Student, F-105 combat crew training school, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada
Apr 67-Oct 69 F-105 combat crew member, 67th Tactical Fighter Squadron, later 12th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa
Oct 69-Dec 69 Student, F-105 Wild Weasel pilot training, Nellis AFB, Nevada
Jan 70-Oct 70 F-105 Wild Weasel pilot, 354th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand
Oct 70-Dec 71 F-105 Wild Weasel instructor pilot, 66th Fighter Weapons Squadron, Nellis AFB, Nevada
Dec 71-Jun 73 Fighter requirements officer and project officer for F-15 and lightweight fighter programs, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Requirements, Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley AFB, VA
Jun 73-Jun 75 Assistant operations officer, 335th Tactical Fighter Squadron, then chief, Standardisation and Evaluation Division, 4th Tactical Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.
9. Jun 75-Jun 76 Student, Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, KS
Jun 76-Jul 79 Tactical fighter requirements officer, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Research and Development, HQ US Air Force, Washington, D.C.
Jul 79-Jul 80 Operations officer, then commander, 68th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Moody AFB, GA
Jul 80-Aug 83 Special assistant, then executive officer to the commander, HQ Tactical Air Command, Langley AFB, VA
Aug 83-Jun 84 Student, National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
Jun 84-Feb 86 Special assistant for low observable technology to the deputy chief of staff for research, development and acquisition, HQ US Air Force, Washington, D.C.
Feb 86-Mar 87 Commander 56th Tactical Training Wing, MacDill AFB, FL
Mar 87-Jun 90 Assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, then deputy chief of staff, requirements, HQ Tactical Air Command, Langley AFB, VA
Jun 90-Dec 91 Director of tactical programs, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Washington, D.C.
Dec 91-Jul 92 Director of operational requirements, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations, HQ US Air Force, Washington, D.C.
Jul 92-Jul 94 Commander, Alaskan Command, Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, 11th Air Force, and Joint Task Force Alaska, Elmendorf AFB, Alaska
Jul 94-Jun 95 Deputy chief of staff for plans and operations, HQ US Air Force, Washington, D.C.
Jun 95-Feb 96 Commander, HQ Air Combat Command, Langley AFB, VA
Mar 96-Apr 2000 Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C.

Flight Information:

Rating: Command pilot
Flight hours: more than 2,500
Aircraft flown: F-105D/F/G, F-4C/D/E, F-16A and F-15A/C

Major Awards and Decorations:

  • Defense Distinguished Service Medal
  • Distinguished Service Medal
  • Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters
  • Distinguished Flying Cross with three oak leaf clusters
  • Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
  • Air Medal with 19 oak leaf clusters
  • Air Force Commendation Medal with four oak leaf clusters

Effective Dates of Promotion:

  • 24 July 1965 Second Lieutenant
  • 24 January 1967 First Lieutenant
  • 24 July 1968 Captain
  • 1 December 1973 Major
  • 1 April 1978 Lieutenant Colonel
  • 1 June 1981 Colonel
  • 1 March 1988 Brigadier General
  • 1 August 1990 Major General
  • 13 July 1992 Lieutenant General
  • 1 July 1995 General

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