Thomas Ritson Ferguson, Jr. – Lieutenant General, United States Air Force

Courtesy of the United States Air Force

Retired June 1, 1993

Lieutenant General Thomas R. Ferguson Jr. was commander, Aeronautical Systems Center, Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

General Ferguson was born in 1935, in Cleveland, Ohio, and graduated from Washington Irving High School, Clarksburg, West Virginia. He earned a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from West Virginia University in 1957 and a master of science degree in metallurgical engineering from Ohio State University in 1968. The general completed Squadron Officer School in 1962, Air Command and Staff College in 1973, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1979.

He was commissioned through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program in 1957 as a distinguished graduate. After receiving pilot wings at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma, General Ferguson was transferred to Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, and flew B-52s. His final B-52 missions were flown from Guam in support of Southeast Asia operations.

In August 1968 General Ferguson was assigned to Headquarters 7th Air Force, Tan Son Nhut Air Base, South Vietnam, where he served in several positions under the director of operations. He returned to the United States in September 1969 and was assigned to Air Force Materials Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, as a technical manager in the Systems Support Division.

From June 1973 to June 1976 the general served as program element monitor within the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Research and Development, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. He then moved to Headquarters Air Force Systems Command, Andrews Air Force Base, Md., as chief of the Flight Vehicle Division, Directorate of Science and Technology. He later served as chief, Avionics and Weapons Division. After graduation from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in June 1979, the general returned to Air Force Systems Command headquarters as deputy to the director of science and technology.

In October 1981 he returned to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base as assistant deputy for development planning at Aeronautical Systems Division. From August 1982 to July 1984 he was director of the AGM-65 Maverick Missile System Program Office under the deputy for tactical systems. The general then was named system program director for the advanced medium range air-to-air missile, Armament Division, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. From August 1988 until February 1990 he was deputy chief of staff for technology and requirements planning, Air Force Systems Command headquarters. In April 1990 he became principal deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Washington, D.C. In June 1990 he became commander of the Aeronautical Systems Division, Air Force Systems Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. He assumed his final command in July 1992.

The general is a command pilot with 4,016 flying hours. His military awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, and Combat Readiness Medal.

He was promoted to lieutenant general April 1, 1990, with same date of rank.

Entered into eternal rest on the morning of January 28, 2003, Lieutenant General Thomas Ritson Ferguson, Jr., USAF (Ret), husband to Mary Bird Carder Ferguson. Residence, Kiawah Island, South Carolina.

The relatives and friends of General and Mrs. Ferguson are invited to attend the memorial service to celebrate the life and continuing journey of Tom, Saturday morning, February 1, 2003, in Johns Island Presbyterian Church, at 11 oclock.

Funeral services will be conducted Tuesday, February 18, 2003, in Fort Meyer Chapel at 11 oclock. Interment, Arlington National Cemetery with Full Military Honors.

General Ferguson was born August 26, 1935, in Lyndhurst, Ohio, the son of Thomas Ritson Ferguson and Jaunita Hall Ferguson. He attended high school in Clarksburg, West Virginia. Tom received his bachelors degree in chemical engineering at West Virginia University in 1957 and his Masters degree in metallurgical engineering at Ohio State. He is a member of Tau Beta Pi, Engineering Honor Society and his military education included the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He had a distinguished military career with the United States Air Force. As a command pilot with 4000 hours of flying time, most of his flying time was in B-52 aircraft with the Strategic Air Command and includes missions during the Cuban Missile Crisis and over Vietnam. He was also assigned to 7th Air Force Headquarters in Saigon. Following on his career was spent in the research, development, and acquisition of Air Force Systems. He had tours at the Pentagon, Eglin Air Force Base, Andrews Air Force Base and Wright Patterson Air Force Base. His positions included Director of Air Force Laboratories, Principal Deputy, Office of the Asst. Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition.

His military awards include, the Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Clusters, Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star.


He retired in 1993 as Commander of Aeronautical Systems Center with the rank of Lieutenant General. He was highly decorated and his alma mater honored him by inducting him into the West Virginia University Academy of Distinguished Alumni. He also served on the WVU College of Engineering Board of Visitors and the Defense Acquisition University Board of Visitors. Retirement had provided time to travel, golf, extensive time with their children and grandchildren and preservation of a treasured family retreat in the mountains of West Virginia. He provided significant leadership and served as an elder with the Johns Island Presbyterian Church.

DATE OF BIRTH: 08/26/1935
DATE OF DEATH: 01/28/2003

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