• College/Year: ED '56
  • Links to Oral History Sessions: Kelley, Robert E. (April 5, 2004)
  • Conflict(s): Vietnam War; Cold War
  • Military Branch & Unit: Air Force
  • Theater(s): European; Vietnam
  • Air Force Squadron: 461st Fighter-Day Squadron; 53rd Tactical Fighter Squadron; 435th Tactical Fighter Squadron
  • Air Force Other: 36th Tactical Fighter Wing; 479th Tactical Fighter Wing


Lt. Gen. Kelley served as a jet fighter pilot (flying F-100s and F-104s) in Germany during the Cold War in the late 1950s and 1960s, including service during the Berlin Crisis. He served in Vietnam, first, as a F-4E pilot, completing 119 missions with the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing, then, as the Executive Officer of the 7th Air Force Tactical Air Control Center. Lt. Gen. Kelley later served as the ninth Superintendent of the US Air Force Academy from 1981 to 1983 (having previously served on its faculty in the mid-1960s). He also developed the US Air Force's Fighter Force Modernization Strategy for the 1980s and served as commander of the USAF Tactical Fighter Weapons Center (1979-81) and Vice Commander of Tactical Air Command (1983-86).