MAJOR GENERAL RICHARD F. GILLIS
Retired September 1, 1992
Major General Richard F. Gillis was commander of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. The center is one of the U.S. Air Force's five air logistics centers and is Georgia's largest industrial complex. The general is responsible for worldwide logistics support of most transport aircraft, F-15 air superiority fighters, helicopters, air-to-air missiles, surface motor vehicles and high-technology airborne electronics.
General Gillis was born in 1936, in Carlstadt, New Jersey, and graduated from Wood-Ridge (N.J.) High School in 1954. He earned a bachelor of science degree in occupational education from Southwest Texas State University in 1977. The general completed Squadron Officer School in 1963, Air Command and Staff College in 1975, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1977.
He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in August 1954 and, after basic training, attended Control Tower Operators School at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. Upon graduation he was assigned to the Memphis (Tennessee) Municipal Airport, where he trained with the Civil Aeronautics Administration until February 1956. The general then served as a control tower operator at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, until his selection for aviation cadet training in June 1956.
In December 1957 General Gillis completed undergraduate pilot training as a distinguished graduate, earning wings and a commission as a Second Lieutenant at Greenville Air Force Base, Mississippi. In January 1958 he was assigned to Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, for advanced all-weather training in the F-86D. From May 1958 to November 1960 the general served with the 54th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at Ellsworth Air Force Base. There he received the Air Defense Command's “We Point With Pride” Award for successfully coping with a serious aircraft emergency. His squadron was awarded the Hughes Trophy as the best interceptor unit in the Air Force.
The general then transferred to the 2nd Fighter-interceptor Squadron, Suffolk County Air Force Base, New York, as an F-101B instructor pilot and maintenance test pilot. He was assigned to the 52nd Fighter-interceptor Group as flight test maintenance officer and, later, became wing quality control officer when the group became a wing. From June 1964 to February 1966 the general flew F-102As with the 59th Fighter-interceptor Squadron, Detachment 1, at Ernest Harmon Air Force Base, Newfoundland. He then transferred to the 444th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina, as quality control officer and F-101B aircraft commander.
In August 1967 General Gillis was assigned to the standardization and evaluation team at Headquarters 1st Air Force, Stewart Air Force Base, New York, where he performed operational evaluations of all 1st Air Force tactical units. In January 1969 General Gillis was assigned as an RF-101A/C reconnaissance pilot to the 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. He transferred to Detachment 1, 45th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Tan Son Nhut Air Base, South Vietnam, In September 1969. During this tour the general flew 100 combat missions and 170 functional test missions in RF-101A/C aircraft.
From September 1970 to June 1971 General Gillis was chief of maintenance for the F-102A, flying 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing, Naha Air Base, Okinawa. He then became assistant director of maintenance engineering at Headquarters 13th Air Force, Clark Air Base, Philippines. While there he served 150 days in South Vietnam and Thailand.
He returned to the United States in June 1973 and flew F-101B's as Air Force adviser to the 147th Fighter-Interceptor Group, Texas Air National Guard, Ellington Air Force Base. He then was assigned to Craig Air Force Base, Alabama, as chief of maintenance. In July 1975 he transferred to Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, and served successively as chief of the Maintenance Management Division, chief of the Aircraft Division and director of maintenance engineering, Air Training Command headquarters.
In June 1979 General Gillis was assigned as A-10 deputy program manager for logistics, Acquisition Logistics Division, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. From February 1980 to April 1982 he was director of logistics for airlift and trainer systems there. He then transferred to the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center as director of maintenance, and became vice commander in February 1983. He returned to Randolph Air Force Base in July 1983 as deputy chief of staff, logistics, Air Training Command headquarters. In August 1986 the general became commander of the Air Force Acquisition Logistics Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. He assumed his present command in April 1988.
The general is a command pilot with more than 5,000 flying hours. His military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with “V” device and oak leaf cluster, Air Force Organizational Excellence Award with oak leaf cluster, Combat Readiness Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with five service stars, Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon with eight oak leaf clusters, Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
He was promoted to Major General November 1, 1986, with same date of rank.
GILLIS, RICHARD FRED
- MAJ GEN US AIR FORCE
- VIETNAM, PERSIAN GULF
- DATE OF BIRTH: 12/15/1936
- DATE OF DEATH: 09/16/2002
- BURIED AT: SECTION 66 SITE 7163
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard