Southwestern Oklahoma State University

Distinguished Alumni

John Murphy

Major General John Murphy - 1977

Gen. Murphy, though only 52, has had a long and distinguished career in the United States Air Force.  He is currently assigned to the Strategic Air Command Eighth Air Force headquarters at Barksdale AFB, La.  He has twice been stationed in Oklahoma, and while in the 11th Bombardment Wing at Altus Air Fore Base was the first officer to attend Southwestern under the “Bootstrap” program. 

He graduated cum laude, with honors, with a Bachelor of Science degree in general business and accounting.  The general received a master’s degree in international affairs from George Washington University in 1970, and he is a graduate of the Nation War College.  After service during World War II, Gen. Murphy returned to civilian life, remaining in the Air Force Reserve.  He was recalled to active duty in 1949 and named pilot for the allied high commissioner—and later for the U.S. ambassador to Australia. 

He was, from December 1952 to January 1956, flight instructor, operations officer and assistant chief of training for the Air Force Reserve Pilot Training Wing at Brooks AFT, Tex., and then detachment commander, supporting the 433rd Troop Carrier Wing (Air Reserve) at Tinker AFT near Oklahoma City.  This duty was followed by more than two years on an attaché assignment with the American Embassy in Rangoon, Burma.  Gen. Murphy was transferred to the Strategic Air Commands B-52 program and progressed from a co-pilot to chief of standardization and later to squadron commander in the 11th Bombardment Wing at Altus AFB. 

Following other assignments, he was transferred in August 1970 to the Republic of Vietnam, where he was senior advisor to the inspector general of the Vietnamese Air Force and flew 93 combat missions.  Returning in 1971 to the United States and to SAC, he was named director of operations and training for the Second Air Force at Barksdale and some six months later was designated vice-commander of the 93 Bombardment Wing at Castle AFB, Calif.  In mid 1972 he became commander of the 306th Bombardment Wing at McCoy AFB, Fla., for a year before being reassigned on base as commander of the 42nd Air Division.  Gen. Murphy initially reported to Headquarters Strategic Air Command in April 1975 as assistant deputy chief of staff for operations. 

The following April he was picked as SAC’s deputy chief of staff for logistics, and he assumed his present duty on Sept. 1 of this year.  A command pilot with more than 11,000 flying hours in bombers, fighters and transports, he wears the Senior Missile man Badge. 

His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Presidential Unit Citation Emblem with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon with V device and one oak leaf cluster and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with palm. 

He was promoted to the grade of major-general on Sept. 1, 1975, with date of rank June 1, 1973.  The native of New Haven, Conn., is married to the former Wilma M. Streck of Kansas City, Mo.