Charles Albert “Chuck” Horner is a retired USAF Four-Star General. He was born in Davenport, Iowa and attended the University of Iowa, as part of the Air Force ROTC 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 U.S. Central Command; while General Schwarzkopf was still in the United States. He currently serves on the board of directors for the US Institute of Peace.
Chuck Horner was awarded pilot wings in late 1959, and then joined the 492nd Tactical Fighter Squadron in England. Three years later, he transitioned to the Republic F-105 Thunderchief and served in the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW) at Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina. He volunteered for combat duty in Southeast Asia, and, assigned to the 388th TFW in Thailand, flew 41 missions in the “Thud.” After six months, he returned to the States and instructed at Nellis AFB, Nevada. In May 1967, Horner returned to Korat Royal Thai Air Base to again fly the “Thud.” He flew 70 missions as a “Wild Weasel,” attacking enemy surface-to-air missile sites.
Between 1969 and 1975, he was a staff officer at Tactical Air Command (TAC) Headquarters and Headquarters USAF and then attended the National War College. He went on to lead two tactical fighter wings, two air divisions, and the Air Defense Weapons Center. In 1987, he took command of Ninth Air Force and U.S. Central Command Air Forces. On 3 August 1990, Horner was flying to TAC Headquarters, when he was called back to Ninth Air Force- Iraq had invaded Kuwait. Operation DESERT SHIELD began and Horner became the architect of air operations.
After the Gulf War, he pinned on his fourth star and completed a distinguished career leading the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the Air Force Space Command. General Horner retired in 1994 with more than 5,300 flying hours in a variety of fighters. He has recently cooperated with Tom Clancy on a new book, Every Man a Tiger.