Duane H. Cassidy

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Duane H. Cassidy
Duane H Cassidy.jpg
Official portrait
Born (1933-11-24)November 24, 1933
Coraopolis, Pennsylvania
Died February 8, 2016(2016-02-08) (aged 82)
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Air Force
Years of service 1954–1989
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg General
Commands held 8th Airlift Squadron
63rd Airlift Wing
21st Air Force
Military Airlift Command
United States Transportation Command[1]
Battles/wars Cold War
Korean War
Vietnam War

Duane Harlan Cassidy[2] (November 24, 1933 – February 8, 2016) was a general in the United States Air Force and the former commander of the Military Airlift Command and United States Transportation Command.

Early life[edit]

Cassidy was born in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, in 1933.[3] He earned a bachelor of science degree from the University of Nebraska in 1968 and a master of science degree from Troy State University in 1975. He completed Squadron Officer School in 1961 at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1973, the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University in 1979, and the program for senior executives in national and international security at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, in 1983.[1]

Military career[edit]

Upon completion of aviation cadet training, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1954. He then attended navigator training at Harlingen and James Connally Air Force Bases, Texas. His initial operational assignments in the Air Force were to the Military Air Transport Service: first to the Air Weather Service's 6th Weather Group, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, flying B-25 Mitchells, and then to Air Rescue Service's 49th Air Rescue Squadron, Selfridge Air Force Base, Michigan. During these assignments, he participated in numerous rescue and weather reconnaissance missions, including the hydrogen weapons test in 1956 at Eniwetok Atoll in the Marshall Islands. His navigator assignments ended after two years as a Military Air Transport Service C-121 Constellation line crew member at Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina. He entered pilot training in December 1958.[1]

Cassidy was assigned to Strategic Air Command after graduation from pilot training and flew B-47 Stratojets at McCoy Air Force Base, Florida, Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, and Lincoln Air Force Base, Nebraska. In November 1965, he transferred to Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, and served with the 810th Strategic Aerospace Division, whose mission included B-52 Stratofortress bomber and LGM-30 Minuteman missile operations. In September 1968, he was assigned to the Republic of Vietnam, serving first with 7th Air Force's Tactical Air Control Center and then with the Military Assistance Command's Vietnam Directorate of Public Affairs as an air briefer to the Saigon press corps.[1]

He returned to the Air Force airlift mission in October 1969. He was assigned to Military Airlift Command headquarters as executive to the deputy chief of staff for operations, and later as executive aide and pilot for the Military Airlift Command commander. In August 1972, he assumed command of the 8th Airlift Squadron, McChord Air Force Base, Washington. He entered the Air War College in August 1974 and, upon graduation, again served at Military Airlift Command headquarters, as assistant chief of staff.[1]

In August 1976, Cassidy was assigned as vice commander of the 63rd Airlift Wing at Norton Air Force Base, California. In February 1978, he became commander of the wing. He returned to Military Airlift Command headquarters in July 1980 and served initially as assistant deputy chief of staff for operations. In August 1981, he became the command's deputy chief of staff for operations.[1]

From October 1983 to August 1984, he served as commander of Military Airlift Command's 21st Air Force at McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey During this period, Military Airlift Command was heavily involved in support of United States' operations in Lebanon and Grenada. General Cassidy then transferred to Headquarters United States Air Force, Washington D.C., where he served as deputy chief of staff for manpower and personnel. He was promoted to general November 8, 1985, with same date of rank. The general assumed command of Military Airlift Command in September 1985 and of the United States Transportation Command upon its activation Oct. 1, 1987.[1] He died from cancer on February 8, 2016,[4] and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on November 18, 2016.


Awards earned during his career:[1]

COMMAND PILOT WINGS.png US Air Force Command Pilot Badge

United States Air Force Navigator Observer Badge.svgAward-star-silver-3d.png US Air Force Senior Navigator Badge
United States Air Force Parachutist Badge.svg Basic Parachutist badge
US-TRANSCOM-Emblem.svg United States Transportation Command Badge
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Width-44 crimson ribbon with a pair of width-2 white stripes on the edges
Legion of Merit with one bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze Star
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
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 oak leaf clusters
Air Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Combat Readiness Medal
Army Good Conduct Medal
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 one bronze service star
Antarctica Service Medal
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Silver star
Vietnam Service Medal with silver service star
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Force Overseas Long Tour Service Ribbon with oak leaf cluster
Silver oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Force Longevity Service Award with one silver and two bronze oak leaf clusters
Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon
Air Force Training Ribbon
Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation
Vietnam Campaign Medal
  • Command pilot and senior navigator with more than 8,000 flying hours.

In 2006 he was inducted into the Airlift/Tanker Association Hall of Fame.[5]


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "GENERAL DUANE H. CASSIDY". United States Air Force. Archived from the original on 12 April 2010. Retrieved 29 December 2010. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ date & year of birth according to LCNAF CIP data
  4. ^ http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/newsobserver/obituary.aspx?pid=179549997
  5. ^ "Airlift/Tanker Association Hall of Fame". Airlift/Tanker Association. 

External links[edit]