Chuck Horner


Charles A. Horner
Chuck Horner (color).jpg
General Charles A. Horner
Born (1936-10-19) October 19, 1936 (age 84)
Davenport, Iowa
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Air Force
Years of service1958–1994
Commands heldAir Force Space Command
North American Aerospace Defense Command
United States Air Forces Central Command
9th Air Force
Battles/warsVietnam War
Gulf War
AwardsAir Force Distinguished Service Medal (3)
Silver Star (2)
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross
Meritorious Service Medal (2)
Air Medal (11)
Aerial Achievement Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal (4)
Other workauthor
Lieutenant General Charles A. Horner in 1991

Charles Albert Horner (born October 19, 1936) is a retired United States Air Force four-star general. He was born in Davenport, Iowa and attended the University of Iowa, as part of the Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps program. On June 13, 1958, Horner was commissioned into the Air Force Reserve. During the Vietnam War, he flew in combat as a Wild Weasel pilot and received the Silver Star. During Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, he commanded the American aerial forces, as well as those of the American allies. During the Desert Shield phase of the conflict, Horner briefly served as Commander-in-Chief — Forward of United States Central Command; while General Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. was still in the United States. He currently serves on the board of directors for the United States Institute of Peace.

Military career

Horner, an Iowa native, entered the United States Air Force through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program. He was commissioned in the Air Force Reserve on June 13, 1958, just before his graduation from the University of Iowa and was awarded pilot wings in November 1959 and was resworn with a regular Air Force commission in 1962.[1] He has commanded a tactical training wing, a fighter wing, two air divisions and a numbered Air Force. While Commander of 9th Air Force, he also commanded United States Central Command Air Forces, in command of all United States and allied air assets during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.[2]

Horner is a command pilot with more than 5,300 flying hours in a variety of fighter aircraft. During the Vietnam War he flew 41 combat missions over North Vietnam in the F-105 during a tour. He later flew more than 70 combat missions as an F-105 Wild Weasel pilot, deliberately drawing anti-aircraft fire to identify and destroy North Vietnamese defenses.[2]

After primary flight training at Lackland AFB, jet training at Laredo AFB, gunnery training at Williams AFB, top-off training and F-100D transition training at Nellis AFB, Horner's first operational assignment was in October 1960 with the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath.[3] In 1963, Horner was reassigned to the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing and Seymor Johnson AFB, where he flew the F-105.[4] From April through August 1965, Horner was assigned as an F-105 pilot at Korat BA in Thailand, flying missions over North Vietnam.[5] From August 1965 to 1967, Horner returned to Nellis AFB as an F-105 instructor, becoming involved in a number of projects involving other aircraft and undergoing F-105 Wild Weasel training. In 1967, he returned to Korat AB, flying both Wild Weasel and night radar bombing missions.[6]

Horner returned to Nellis AFB in August 1967 where, after initial assignment to the Combat Crew Training Wing, he ended up flying as an instructor at the Fighter Weapons School. In March 1968, he joined the new Fighter Weapons Center at Nellis. From 1970 to 1972 he was assigned as a staff officer to Tactical Air Command (TAC) headquarters at Langley AFB, followed by four months of post-graduate work at the College of William and Mary, where he earned his Master of Business Administration. This was followed by a three-year assignment at The Pentagon and subsequent assignment to the National War College at Seymore Johnson AFB.[7]

In January 1977, Horner participated in his first Red Flag exercise.[8] His next assignment was to Luke AFB, as deputy commander of the 58th Fighter Wing. In 1980, he was reassigned to Nellis as wing commander of the 474th Tactical Fighter Wing, which was equipped with F-4Ds but scheduled to transition to F-16As. TAC Commander General Wilbur L. Creech kept moving Horner; who commanded at four different bases, two air divisions, the Air Defense Weapons Center, and finally Ninth Air Force.[9]

Horner was Commander in Chief of North American Aerospace Defense Command and the United States Space Command; and Commander of Air Force Space Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado from 1992 to 1994. He was responsible for the aerospace defense of the United States and Canada, and the exploitation and control of space for national purposes through a network of satellites and ground stations around the world.[2]

Other work

Horner co-wrote Every Man a Tiger with Tom Clancy. In 2004, Horner served on a Pentagon team that looked into detainee abuse.

The United States Air Force awards a General Charles A. Horner "Tiger Award" to one officer and one enlisted individual assigned to the Fourteenth Air Force annually (.pdf). He currently resides in Lake Lorraine, Florida.

Horner is on the Honorary Capital Campaign Committee for the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association. They are committed to build The National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial at 23rd Streets and Constitution Avenue, N.W. in Washington, D.C. by 2021. This will be the 30th Anniversary of Operation Desert Storm.



Flight information

Awards and decorations

COMMAND PILOT WINGS.png U.S. Air Force Command Pilot Badge
USAF - Occupational Badge - Space and Missile.svg Basic Space and Missile Operations Badge
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Silver Star with oak leaf cluster
Legion of Merit ribbon.svg Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross ribbon.svg Distinguished Flying Cross
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Silver oak leaf cluster
Silver oak leaf cluster
Air Medal with ten oak leaf clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal ribbon.svg Aerial Achievement Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Force Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Force Presidential Unit Citation with oak leaf cluster
Silver oak leaf cluster
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with silver oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Force Organizational Excellence Award with two oak leaf clusters
Combat Readiness 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
Bronze star
Bronze star
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with two service stars
Bronze star
Vietnam Service Medal with service star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Southwest Asia Service Medal with three service stars
Air Force Overseas Short Tour Service Ribbon
Air Force Overseas Long Tour Service Ribbon
Silver oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Force Longevity Service Award with one silver and three bronze oak leaf clusters
Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon
Air Force Training Ribbon
The Khalifiyyeh Order of Bahrain, 1st class.png Khalifiyyeh Order of Bahrain, Grand Cross
King Faisal Award, 2d Class Ribbon.png King Faisal Order, Officer
Grand Cross Military Merit Order UAE.png United Arab Emirates Military Merit Order, Grand Cross
Legion Honneur Officier ribbon.svg Legion of Honour, Officer (France)
MSC ribbon-military.png Meritorious Service Cross, Military Division (Canada)
Bronze star
Medal of Merit (Nicaragua) with bronze star
Vietnam Campaign Medal ribbon with 60- clasp.svg Vietnam Campaign Medal
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia) ribbon.svg Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia)
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait) ribbon.svg Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)

Other achievements

  • 1991 U.S. News Trophy
  • 1991 History of Aviation Award
  • 1991 Maxwell A. Kriendler Memorial Award
  • 1991 Aviation Achievement Award
  • 1991 Air Force Order of the Sword
  • 1991 Aviation Week and Space Technology's Aerospace Laureate
  • 1992 National Veteran's Award

Promotion dates


  1. ^ Clancy & Horner 1999, p. 38
  2. ^ a b c Biographies : General Charles A. Horner, United States Air Force, archived from the original on 2009-07-10
  3. ^ Clancy & Horner 1999, pp. 42–54
  4. ^ Clancy & Horner 1999, p. 67
  5. ^ Clancy & Horner 1999, pp. 75–99
  6. ^ Clancy & Horner 1999, pp. 108–111
  7. ^ Clancy & Horner 1999, pp. 118–132
  8. ^ Clancy & Horner 1999, p. 152
  9. ^ Clancy & Horner 1999, pp. 132–159


  • Clancy, Tom; Horner, Chuck (1999), Every Man a Tiger: The Gulf War Air Campaign, Putnam, ISBN 978-0-399-14493-6