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Ryan Nod Marks Air Force Family Legacy

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 2, 1997 – For the first time in U.S. military history, a son will follow his father as a service chief of staff, William S. Cohen announced here July 31.

The defense secretary nominated Air Force Gen. Michael E. Ryan to be the next Air Force chief of staff. Ryan's father, Air Force Gen. John D. "Jack" Ryan, was chief of staff from 1969 to 1973. He died in 1983.

Ryan currently commands U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Allied Air Forces Central Europe. He will replace Gen. Ronald R. Fogleman, who chose to retire Sept. 1, a year before completing the four-year term of office.

Cohen said he chose Ryan for three reasons. "No. 1, he has combat experience, and he understands the risks and the pressures of warfare," he said. "He flew over 100 missions in Vietnam.

"Second, he served with distinction on the Joint Staff, including a stint as assistant to the current chairman, [Army] Gen. [John] Shalikashvili.

"Third, he has operational experience as an allied commander in Europe. He led the allied air operations over Bosnia, the campaign that helped to pave the way for the Dayton talks and the peace accord in Bosnia."

Air Force Secretary Sheila Widnall said Ryan "possesses all the traits needed to provide superb leadership to the people of the Air Force -- uniformed, civilian as well as family members. The Air Force and the nation are fortunate to have such a remarkable officer ready to take the position of chief of staff and lead the Air Force into the future."

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