Major General William E. Overacker is chief of staff, Headquarters Military Airlift Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.

General Overacker was born in Cleveland. He spent his early life in Tennessee and Georgia, and graduated from Spalding High School in Griffin, Ga. He received a bachelor's degree in chemistry and mathematics from Emory University in 1954, and a master of science degree in business and management from The George Washington University in 1968. The general completed Air Command and Staff College in 1967, and the National War College in 1973.

After his commissioning through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program, he completed primary pilot training at Spence Air Base, Ga., and basic flying training at Reese Air Force Base, Texas, where he was a distinguished graduate. He then attended instructor pilot school and remained at Reese as a B-25 instructor pilot from June 1956 to March 1960. During the next six years the general was a physiological training officer at Webb Air Force Base, Texas; Williams Air Force Base, Ariz.; and Andrews Air Force Base, Md. During this time he participated in the selection and training of high-altitude reconnaissance pilots.

In August 1966 General Overacker entered Air Command and Staff College, graduating in June 1967. He then was assigned to the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing, Bien Hoa Air Base, Republic of Vietnam. During this tour of duty, he served as wing life support officer and special assistant to the wing commander in addition to flying 126 combat missions in C-47s and H-53s. In July 1968 he returned to the United States and was assigned as senior aerospace physiologist at Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. Remaining in Washington, the general became special assistant for air operations to the Air Force surgeon general.

After graduation from the National War College in June 1973, he was assigned to McGuire Air Force Base, N.J. He served as deputy base commander, assistant deputy commander for operations, and commander of the aerial port squadron. In September 1975 he was named deputy commander for operations of the 438th Military Airlift Wing. From July 1977 to March 1979 he was assistant deputy chief of staff for operations at Military Airlift Command headquarters. General Overacker then became commander, Military Airlift-Travis at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. He returned to Scott and served as inspector general for Military Airlift Command from July 1980 to August 1981.

He then was assigned as commander of the 322nd Airlift Division, Ramstein Air Base, West Germany. In October 1984 he became deputy chief of staff for operations at Military Airlift Command headquarters. He assumed his present duties in November 1986.

The general is a command pilot with 7,214 flying hours. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, and Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters.

He was promoted to major general Aug. 1, 1983, with date of rank Aug. 1, 1979.

General Overacker's hometown is Jackson, Tenn.

(Current as of March 2021)