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Richard Myers

Richard MyersAKA Richard Bowman Myers

Born: 1-Mar-1942
Birthplace: Kansas City, MO

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Military

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, 2001-05

Military service: USAF (1965-)

Myers has said he witnessed a plane crash as a child, and it left him deathly afraid of flying. To overcome this, his parents took him to an airport and forced him to watch takeoffs and landings. Myers enlisted in the Air Force in 1965 through the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program. He served as a fighter pilot during the Vietnam War, accumulating 600 combat hours, three field promotions, and a chest full of awards and decorations, including the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster. He made Brigadier General in 1990, and General in 1997. For several years, he was Commander in Chief of the North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD).

In late August of 2001, Myers, then vice chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was nominated by George W. Bush to be chairman. On September 11, Myers was meeting with Sen. Max Cleland to discuss his confirmation hearing when the first plane hit the World Trade Center. When the second plane hit, Myers called the Pentagon's command center and ordered the officer in charge to raise the military's alert status to defense condition (defcon) III, the highest state of readiness since the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. President Bush has claimed on at least two separate occasions that he gave that order.

Myers was confirmed by the Senate three days later, and sworn in as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on 1 October 2001. He played a key role in planning America's subsequent wars against Afghanistan and Iraq.

In 2003, when it was reported that children were among the hundreds of prisoners being held without charges at Guantanamo, Myers told the media that the boys "may be juveniles but they're not on the Little League team anywhere. They're on a major league team, and it's a terrorist team and they're in Guantanamo for a very good reason -- for our safety, for your safety."

In April 2004, when CBS News was preparing to report that Iraqi prisoners had been tortured by American soldiers, Myers asked CBS to delay the story, and they did, out of concern for the danger and tension on the ground in Iraq. A week after CBS reported the news, Myers said he still "hadn't yet read" the military's own report on the torture allegations, although it had been written two months earlier.

Retired on 30 September 2005, succeeded by then-Vice Chairman Peter Pace.

Brother: Chuck Myers (younger)
Wife: Mary Jo Rupp (m. 1965, 3 children)
Daughter: Nicole
Daughter: Erin
Son: Richard

    High School: Shawnee Mission North High School, Shawnee Mission, KS
    University: BS, Mechanical Engineering, Kansas State University (1965)
    University: MA, Business Administration, Auburn University (1977)
    University: Air Command and Staff College
    University: US Army War College
    Professor: Military History, Kansas State University
    Professor: National Defense University

    Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff (1-Oct-2001 to 30-Sep-2005)
    Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff (2000-01)
    Member of the Board of Aon (2006-)
    Member of the Board of Deere (2006-)
    Member of the Board of Northrop Grumman (2006-)
    Member of the Board of United Technologies (2006-)
    Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity
    Air Medal
    Distinguished Flying Cross
    Distinguished Service Medal
    Legion of Merit oak leaf cluster
    Meritorious Service Medal
    Presidential Medal of Freedom 9-Nov-2005
    Dubya Ranch Hand Aug-2002


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