Timothy I. Ahern – Major General, United States Air Force



Died April 16, 2003 of respiratory failure after a brief illness at Virginia Hospital Center, Arlington, Virginia.

Born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1924, General Ahern attended Catholic Schools in the city and entered what is now Southern Connecticut State Univesity at age 15. Three years later, he left college in his junior year to enter the Army Air Corps during World War II and become one of its youngest pilots. He received his officer’s commission in February 1944.

Stationed in England with the 8th Air Force, he was shot down and taken prisoner in August 1944, spending eight months in two different German P.O.W. camps before being liberated in April, 1945.

After early assignments in public relations and information, Gen. Ahern served as an Instrument Pilot Instructor. In the mid ’50s he came to Washington to serve as aide and pilot to the late General Thomas D. White, first as Vice Chief, then Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

In the early ’60s, he served as F-102 Squadron Commander in Madison, Wisconsin, where his unit was deployed to Florida to fly fighter-interceptor escort during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

He attended the Air War College in Montgomery, Alabama, being selected its Distinguished Graduate of 1964.

After tours in Iceland and Colorado, he was selected one of a small group of Air Force officers to attend the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School in 1967.

During an assignment in Washington in the early ’70s, he helped shepherd the development of the original AWACS and was proud to see it come in “under budget, before deadline and beyond specifications.”

He was listed in Who’s Who in the World 1977.

His final Air Force job in the late ’70s was as Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff, Research and Development, from which he retired in December, 1978.

His military decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Air Medal and Air Force Commendation Medal with Two Oak Leaf Clusters.

Within a few months of retirement, he joined with three other retired officers to create Cypress International, a defense consulting firm based in Alexandria, Virginia. The company continues to this day, although General Ahern retired from it in 1986.

He met and married his wife, the Widow Kathryn L. Teague Ahern, when stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, in 1949. Together they raised a son and a daughter. He supported her interest in politics, which took her to the Reagan White House as Assistant to Press Secretary James Brady. She died in 1989.

General Ahern’s Alma Mater, Southern Connecticut State University, selected him its Distinguished Alumnus of 2002, and a feature article on him appears in the Spring 2003 issue of its alumni magazine, Southern.

In addition to his son, Dr. Michael A. Teague of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and his daughter, Bernadette D. Ahern of Arlington, General Ahern is survived by three grandchildren; a sister, Phyllis A. White of Poughkeepsie, New York, and a brother, James J. Ahern of Milford, Connecticut.

Funeral services will be held the Old Post Chapel, Fort Myer, Virginia, on Thursday, May 8, at 8:45 a.m. Interment Arlington National Cemetery with Full Military Honors.

From a press report: April 2003

AHERN, TIMOTHY I., Major General, United States Air Force, Retired.

On April 16, 2003, of Arlington, Virginia. Devoted father of Bernadette K. Ahern of Arlington, Virginia, and Dr. Michael A. Teague of Baton Rouge, Lousiana. Also survived by one sister, one brother and three grandchildren.

Services will be at the Old Post Chapel, Fort Myer, Virginia, on Thursday, May 8, at 8:45 a.m. Interment Arlington National Cemetery with Full Military Honors.

Retired December 1, 1978

Major General Timothy I. Ahern was Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for research and development, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.

General Ahern was born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1924. He entered New Haven State Teachers College in September 1940 at the age of 15, and in 1943 enlisted as an aviation cadet. He completed pilot training in the Eastern Flying Training Command and was commissioned a second lieutenant in February 1944.

He completed B-17 aircraft training at MacDill Field, Florida, and in July 1944 was assigned to the 731st Bombardment Squadron of the 8th Air Force in England. In August 1944, while on a bombing mission over Germany, he was shot down by anti-aircraft fire and taken prisoner of war. During the winter of 1944, he participated in the forced march from Stalag Luft III (a prisoner of war camp 90 miles east of Berlin) to Stalag VII A, near Moosburg, Germany. He was released in April 1945 when Stalag VII A was overrun by the U.S. 3d Army.

In August 1945, General Ahern was transferred to Enid Army Air Field, Oklahoma, for B-25 refresher training. He later served as public relations officer for the 2518th Army Air Forces Base Unit at Enid.

He was transferred to the 2000th AAFBU at Barksdale, Louisiana, in February 1947, as public relations officer and later became assistant public information officer for Headquarters Air Training Command. While there he also flew P-51 and B-26 aircraft. In 1948 he attended Air Tactical School, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida Following completion of the school, he returned to Barksdale and served as assistant public information officer, and later as executive administrative officer for Headquarters Air Force Training Command.

General Ahern moved to Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, in December 1949 when Headquarters Air Force Training Command was relocated at that base, and the name changed to Headquarters Air Training Command. He served as an executive administrative officer in public information until his transfer to Tyndall in September 1950. At Tyndall he completed the Air Force Instrument Pilot Instructor School and remained as an instrument flight instructor in B-25 and T-33 aircraft.

He was transferred to Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, in December 1951, when the Instrument Pilot InstructorSchool was moved to that location.

General Ahern returned to Headquarters Air Training Command, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, in June 1953 and served as special assistant to the commander. In July 1954, he was transferred to Headquarters United States Air Force, Washington, D.C., as  assistant executive officer to the vice chief of staff, U.S. Air Force, General Thomas D. White. His responsibilities also included duty as a pilot. When General White was named Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force in 1957, General Ahern assumed additional duty as aide-de-camp to General White, continuing in that position until July 1960.

He attended the first advanced interceptor pilot training class in the F-102A at Perrin Air Force Base, Texas, from August 1960 to February 1961. He was then assigned as assistant director of operations, Headquarters Chicago Air Defense Sector, and later was commander, 325th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, Truax Field, Wisconsin. General Ahern and his squadron were deployed to Homestead Air Force Base, Florida, during the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962.

In 1963 he attended the Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, and was named a distinguished graduate. In July 1964, he was assigned as commander, 57th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, Keflavik, Iceland. In June 1965, after his tour in Iceland, he was assigned to Headquarters Air Defense Command, Ent Air Force Base, Colorado, first as operations staff officer and subsequently as chief, Planning Division in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans. Later he was assigned as deputy director of operational readiness inspection in the Office of the Inspector General. In 1967 he attended and graduated from the Advanced Management Program, Graduate School of Business Administration, Harvard University.

In February 1968, General Ahern was named commander of the 57th Fighter Group, Paine Field, Washington. In September 1968, he was transferred to Washington, D.C., as program manager for the Continental United States Air Defense Modernization Program, Directorate of Development, Deputy Chief of Staff for Research and Development, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. This was a program to modernize the U.S. air defense forces with the Airborne Warning and Control System, Over-the-Horizon Backscatter Radar, and an improved manned interceptor. In May 1970, General Ahern assumed duty as chief, Defense Division, Directorate of Operational Requirements and Development Plans, Headquartaers U.S. Air Force.

In February 1973, General Ahern was named deputy commander, 22d NORAD Region, North Bay, Ontario, Canada. In June 1973, he became deputy chief of staff, plans for Aerospace Defense Command, at Colorado Springs, Colo. With the consolidation of the North American Air Defense Command, the Continental Air Defense Command, and ADC Headquarters, General Ahern was named assistant deputy chief of staff, programs and requirements, and in April 1974 was elevated to the post of deputy chief of staff, plans and programs for NORAD and ADC. He became director, operational requirements, Deputy Chief of Staff, Research and Development, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, September 1, 1975. On February 1, 1977, he became assistant deputy chief of staff, research and development.

His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit, Air Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon.

General Ahern was promoted to the grade of Major General August 1, 1974, with date of rank March 1, 1972.

Ahern, Kathryn L.

Katheryn L. Ahern,  the wife of Timothy I. Ahern. 66, of Arlington – a former administrative assistant to Jim Brady, former President Reagan’s Press Secretary, died of a heart attack last Wednesday, July 12, 1989, at Fairfax Hosp. A Republican Party volunteer, Mrs. Ahern worked as an administrative assistant to Mr. Brady in the White House Press Office from 1979 to 1982. “She was very loyal to Jim (while he was recuperating from the shooting in which he and the president were wounded), and he was very good to her,” said daughter Bernadette Ahearn of Arlington.

Mrs. Ahern also volunteered her administrative svces to the American Red Cross in Northern Virginia and to the Armed Forces Hostess Association at the Pentagon. She first moved to the Washington, D.C. area in 1954 with her second husband, retired US Air Force Major General Timothy I. Ahearn. He was stationed here and abroad and they lived in the area from 1954 to 1960, 1968 to 1973, and after 1976.

The late US Air Force Lieuteant Edward F. Teague, her first husband, died in a plane crash over Canada in 1946.

In addition to her daughter and husband of 40 years, Mrs. Ahearn is survived by a son, Dr Michael A. Teague of Baton Rouge, LA, and 3 grandchildren. She was buried at Arlington National Cemetery (Section 30). The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be made in the form of contributions to American Heart Association. December 24, 1922-July 12, 1989.

August 9, 1944


In loving memory of my father on an anniversary he and I can no longer toast together — The day he bailed out of a burning plane and lived to make it home.

Nobody else is you, Bud. Ain’t it a shame?

Love Always, B.K.


Read our general and most popular articles

Leave a Comment