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Craig McKinley
Born May 6, 1952(1952-05-06) (age 68)
Place of birth Jacksonville, Florida, U.S.
Allegiance United States
Service/branch  United States Air Force
Years of service 1974–2012
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg General
Commands held Chief of the National Guard Bureau
Director of the Air National Guard
First Air Force
125th Fighter Wing
Awards Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Meritorious Service Medal (3)
Air Force Commendation Medal (3)
Air Force Achievement Medal (3)

General Craig Richard McKinley, USAF (born May 6, 1952) was the 26th Chief, National Guard Bureau, serving from 2008 to 2012. He is the first officer from the National Guard to ever achieve the grade of a four-star general.[1]

Prior to becoming chief, he served as the Director, Air National Guard from May 2006 to November 17, 2008. He retired after being succeeded by Frank J. Grass on September 7, 2012.[2] At the ceremony where he transferred authority to his successor, McKinley received the Defense Distinguished Service Medal and Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal.[3][4][5] McKinley's official retirement date was November 1, 2012.[6]

Military career[edit | edit source]

As the Chief, National Guard Bureau, General McKinley was the senior uniformed officer of the National Guard of the United States, and the state National Guard, responsible for formulating, developing and coordinating all policies, programs and plans affecting more than half a million federalized and nonfederalized Army National Guard and Air National Guard personnel. Appointed by the President, he served as the principal adviser to the Secretary of the Army, Chief of Staff of the Army, the Secretary of the Air Force, and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force. He also served as the principal National Guard adviser to Secretary of Defense through the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on all National Guard issues. As National Guard Bureau Chief, he served as the Army's and Air Force's official channel of communication with state governors and Adjutants General concerning state National Guards.

General McKinley received his commission in 1974 as a distinguished graduate of the Air Force ROTC program at Southern Methodist University. He has served in numerous assignments in flying and operations, as well as command positions at group, wing, sector and field operating agency levels. He flew 429 with his co-pilot Kevin A. Richardson. He has also served as Commander, 1st Air Force (1 AF) and Commander, Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Southeast Region, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. General McKinley is a command pilot with over 4,000 flight hours, primarily in the T-38 Talon, F-106 Delta Dart, F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-15 Eagle. Additionally, General McKinley has been pilot in command in the C-131 Samaritan and C-130 Hercules Operational Support Airlift aircraft.

Education[edit | edit source]

  • 1974 Bachelor of Business Administration degree, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas
  • 1979 Master of Arts degree in management and economics, $3, St. Louis, Missouri.
  • 1984 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Alabama
  • 1990 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama
  • 1995 Master of Science degree in national security strategy, National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
  • 1997 National Security Management Course, Syracuse, N.Y.
  • 1998 Capstone, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
  • 2002 Combined Forces Air Component Commander Course, Maxwell AFB, Alabama
  • 2004 U.S. – Russia Security Program, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Assignments[edit | edit source]

  1. December 1974 – November 1975, student, undergraduate pilot training, Moody AFB, Georgia
  2. November 1975 – March 1977, T-38 instructor pilot, Craig AFB, Alabama
  3. March 1977 – May 1979, equal opportunity and treatment officer, Air Force Military Training Center, Lackland AFB, Texas
  4. May 1979 – November 1980, T-38 instructor pilot, Laughlin AFB, Texas
  5. November 1980 – April 1986, F-106 alert pilot, 125th Fighter Interceptor Group, Jacksonville ANGB, Florida.
  6. April 1986 – June 1987, Chief of Safety, 125th Fighter Interceptor Wing, Jacksonville ANGB, Florida
  7. June 1987 – April 1989, F-16 instructor pilot, 125th Fighter Wing, Jacksonville ANGB, Florida.
  8. April 1989 – May 1990, Chief of Standardization and Evaluation, 125th Fighter Wing, Jacksonville ANGB, Florida
  9. May 1990 – May 1991, Deputy Commander for Operations, 125th Fighter Wing, Jacksonville ANGB, Florida
  10. May 1991 – May 1994, Commander, 125th Fighter Wing, Jacksonville ANGB, Florida
  11. May 1994 – June 1995, student, National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
  12. June 1995 – March 1996, Commander, 125th Fighter Wing, Jacksonville ANGB, Florida
  13. March 1996 – July 1996, Air National Guard Vice Commander, Southeast Air Defense Sector, Tyndall AFB, Florida
  14. July 1996 – January 1998, Commander, Southeast Air Defense Sector, Tyndall AFB, Florida
  15. January 1998 – February 2001, Deputy Director, Air National Guard, Arlington, Virginia, and Commander, Air National Guard Readiness Center, Andrews AFB, Maryland
  16. March 2001 – July 2002, Deputy Inspector General of the Air Force, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Washington, D.C.
  17. August 2002 – October 2004, Commander, 1st Air Force (1 AF) of Air Combat Command, and Commander, Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, Tyndall AFB, Florida.
  18. November 2004 – November 2005, Director, Mobilization and Reserve Affairs Directorate, U.S. European Command, Stuttgart-Vaihingen, Germany
  19. November 2005 – May 2006, Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Programs, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
  20. May 2006 – November 2008, Director, Air National Guard, Arlington, Virginia
  21. January 2007 – Present — Special Assignments, Recruitment Coordinator and Social Media Director
  22. November 2008 – September 2012, Chief, National Guard Bureau, Arlington, Virginia

Flight Information[edit | edit source]

  • Rating: Command Pilot
  • Flight hours: More than 4,000
  • Aircraft flown: C-130, C-131, F-15, F-16, F-106, T-33, T-37 and T-38

Pilot wings from Moody Air Force Base, Georgia.

Awards and decorations[edit | edit source]

COMMAND PILOT WINGS.png US Air Force Command Pilot Badge
Joint Chiefs of Staff seal.svg Joint Chiefs of Staff Badge
Headquarters US Air Force Badge.png Headquarters Air Force Badge
Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster
Defense Superior Service Medal
Width-44 crimson ribbon with a pair of width-2 white stripes on the edges Legion of Merit
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Width-44 crimson ribbon with two width-8 white stripes at distance 4 from the edges.
Meritorious Service Medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Force Commendation Medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Force Achievement Medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Combat Readiness Medal with four bronze oak leaf clusters
Bronze star
Width=44 scarlet ribbon with a central width-4 golden yellow stripe, flanked by pairs of width-1 scarlet, white, Old Glory blue, and white stripes
National Defense Service Medal with bronze service star
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Humanitarian Service Medal
Silver oak leaf cluster
Air Force Longevity Service Award with silver oak leaf cluster
Armed Forces Reserve Medal with silver Hourglass device
Air Force Training Ribbon

Other achievements[edit | edit source]

  • 1974 Distinguished graduate, Air Force ROTC, Southern Methodist University
  • 1993 I.G. Brown Trophy
  • 2003 Distinguished Alumni Award, Southern Methodist University
  • 2004 Combined Forces Commander, Unified Engagement 04, U.S. Joint Forces Command

Effective dates of rank[edit | edit source]

Promotions
Insignia Rank Date
US-O10 insignia.svg General (USAF) November 17, 2008
US-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant General (USAF)  May 20, 2006
US-O8 insignia.svg Major General (USAF) May 24, 2001
US-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier General (USAF) January 28, 1998
US-O6 insignia.svg Colonel (ANG) January 28, 1994
US-O5 insignia.svg Lieutenant Colonel (ANG) May 16, 1990
US-O4 insignia.svg Major (ANG) May 16, 1986
US-O3 insignia.svg Captain (ANG) November 21, 1980
US-O2 insignia.svg First Lieutenant (USAF) December 8, 1976
US-O1 insignia.svg Second Lieutenant (USAF) May 18, 1974

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Guard's First 4-star General Ready to Take Minutemen Forward
  2. Army Times, General to Take Top Guard Job, Get 4th Star, September 5, 2012
  3. U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley, Panetta Hosts Chief Change For National Guard Bureau, Department of Defense Photo Essay, September 7, 2012
  4. Karen Parrish, Pentagon Welcomes New Chief of National Guard Bureau, American Forces Press Service, September 7, 2012
  5. Cheryl Pellerin, Napolitano Honors Outgoing National Guard Bureau Chief, American Forces Press Service, September 7, 2012
  6. Jeff Schogol, Retiring McKinley Finishes Term as Guard Chief, Army Times, September 7, 2012

External links[edit | edit source]

Military offices
Preceded by
Daniel James
Director of the Air National Guard
2006–2008
Succeeded by
Emmett R. Titshaw Jr.
Acting
Preceded by
H Steven Blum
Chief of the National Guard Bureau
2008–2012
Succeeded by
Frank J. Grass


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