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AETC Vice Commander to retire after 33 years of service

  • Published
  • By Dona Fair
  • Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs
A desire to fly fueled a military career for Lt. Gen. Douglas H. Owens. Now the vice commander of Air Education and Training Command is set to hang up his uniform after more than 33 years of service.

Owens has proudly continued a family legacy that began during World War II by his father, Billy H Owens, an Army noncommissioned officer, who also served in Korea and Vietnam.

His family was stationed at Fort Carson when the Air Force Academy came into being in the 1950s, which in turn helped inspire him to join the Air Force. The general is a 1975 graduate of Northwest High School and 1980 graduate of the USAF Academy. He is also a graduate of the National War College and holds two masters degrees.

After achieving his dream as a 1980 graduate of the academy, Owens looked forward to pilot training and career as an Air Force officer.

"I can honestly say that I have enjoyed all of my more than 33 years in the Air Force," the Clarksville, Tenn., native said. "Along with my wife, Teresa, whom I married a week after graduating from the academy, we have had the great opportunity of serving all around the world and we enjoyed it all."

Owens is a command pilot with more than 3,100 flying hours. He flew combat missions in the first A-10 squadron deployed to Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, commanded at the squadron, group and wing levels, and has served in many senior leadership positions. His tours of duty included five assignments in the Pacific theater where he also served as vice commander of Pacific Air Forces.

During his career, the general says he has been fortunate to work with some great Airmen, both active duty and civilian, and has had the privilege of serving under remarkable leaders.

Those leaders helped prepare him for his greatest challenge as the 36th Wing Commander, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. There, Owens was faced with several tests and challenges, but he said his wing was able to rise to the occasion in every instance and accomplish great things.

"Through all those things, my wing just came together in such a way that made me extra ordinarily proud to be part of such a great organization," Owens said. "To know that I helped create the environment where their response was so professional in every respect was great."
During his tenure as AETC vice commander, Owens oversaw many projects, including the military's first operational F-35 flights at Eglin AFB, Fla., at the decision to base F-35s at Luke AFB, Ariz; the challenge of meeting mission requirements during sequestration; and the merge of three San Antonio military installations into one joint base.

"The leadership team here has worked diligently on tough issues," said Owens. "I feel we have set AETC on a good, prudent course that will lead us into the future."

There are no regrets for Owens as he heads into retirement.

"I've had the privilege of watching my family grow. I've had the privilege over the last nine years of serving alongside my sons, and I have had the greater privilege since being a general officer of being in a position of influence that has helped shaped in some small fashion the Air Force that my boys will grow to be senior leaders in themselves."

Owens' advice to Airmen is simple. "Always reflect and serve in a way that makes you proud of everything that you do. If our individual Airmen take pride in what they do, then that will show in the results of their actions, and that's what we need in today's Air Force."

The family legacy that began in WWII now passes to his two sons, John and Mike, who are both Air Force officers and fly B-52s. "I'm extremely proud of my two sons who survived the ups and downs of military life," said Owens. "Our family legacy is entrusted to them."

The Owens family will settle in the San Antonio area and they look forward to spending more time with their four grandchildren and other opportunities to serve.