Major General Edward J. Nash is the deputy chief of staff, operations, Headquarters Military Airlift Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill. In this capacity he is responsible for the worldwide operation of 950 transport aircraft, operated by more than 2,000 aircrews that fly approximately 738,000 hours per year. His annual operating budget is approximately $1 billion which equates to slightly more than $83 million per month.
General Nash was born in Detroit in 1925. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in August 1943 and received his commission and pilot wings at the age of 19.
After World War II he was released from active duty and attended the General Motors Institute of Technology and graduated as a mechanical engineer. He has bachelor of arts and master of science degrees from The George Washington University and is a graduate at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
In July 1948 he was recalled to active duty, completed meteorologist training and in 1949 was assigned as an Air Weather Service detachment commander on the island of Iwo Jima. In 1952 General Nash was assigned as an aerial reconnaissance weather officer in Alaska where he flew WB-29 reconnaissance missions over the North Pole and was awarded the Master Bush Pilot Certificate.
In 1956 General Nash commanded an atmospheric sampling aircraft during the hydrogen bomb tests of Bikini and Eniwetok islands. In 1958 he was assigned as a North Atlantic Treaty Organization exchange officer and flew arctic reconnaissance missions with the Royal Canadian Air Force's 408th Squadron.
From August 1960 to April 1964, General Nash served as an operations staff officer, Military Air Transport Service. He was subsequently transferred to the Pentagon as the program element monitor for the Reconnaissance Division, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
General Nash was the first senior officer to receive C-5 Galaxy training and, commensurate with delivery of the first Galaxy in July 1970, was assigned to the 60th Military Airlift Wing, Travis Air Force Base, Calif. During this tour of duty, he become the director of operations and later vice commander of the largest wing in the Military Airlift Command which at that time moved 1,800 tons of cargo and 3,500 passengers each day, primarily in relation to the Southeast Asian conflict.
During this period he commanded 40 C-5 airlift missions into South Vietnam and Thailand and was directly responsible for many of the C-5 concepts and procedures adopted by the Military Airlift Command.
In February 1973 General Nash was assigned as director of operations for the 21st Air Force at McGuire Air Force Base, N.J. It was during this assignment that he became the prime director for the planning and execution of the American airlift of supplies to Israel during the October-November 1973 Middle East War. He commanded one of the last C-5 missions into Tel Aviv.
In recognition of his role in the Israeli Airlift, President Gerald R. Ford presented the Harmon International Aviator's Trophy to General Nash on May 2, 1975, "for piloting a 13,000 mile C-5 airlift mission from the United States to the Middle East and return, and personally directing the greatest airlift in Aviation history, October 14 - November 14, 1973." The Harmon Trophy is awarded annually for the most outstanding international achievement in the art and science of aeronautics. The inscribed trophy is on display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
General Nash assumed command of the 62nd Military Airlift Wing, McChord Air Force Base, Wash., in August 1974. While under his command the wing participated in "Operation Babylift," the evacuation of orphans from Saigon to the United States and in the airlift of Marines who helped recover the United States merchant vessel Mayaguez.
In July 1975 General Nash become inspector general of the Military Airlift Command. As such he was directly responsible for developing and implementing new operational readiness inspections. The wartime readiness of U.S. Air Force airlift units is now assessed during their actual support of Joint Army/Air Force exercises.
In July 1976 he was assigned as deputy chief of staff, logistics, Headquarters Military Airlift Command. As the command logistician he was responsible for the maintenance and support of the command's worldwide forces. He was directly responsible for streamlining logistics concepts and procedures and for implementing progressive commercial airline concepts that will reduce engine overhaul requirements substantially.
He assumed his current position as deputy chief of staff, operations, Headquarters Military Airlift Command, in July 1977. Some of the major airlift operations for which he has been responsible are the large airlift of Army engineers and their equipment to the northeastern United States during the severe winter of 1977-1978; the airlifting of reinforced battalions of peacekeeping forces from Nepal, Norway, Iran, Ireland and the Fiji Islands into Tel Aviv and a battalion of Senegalese into Damascus; airlifting French Foreign Legionnaires from Corsica and Belgium paratroopers from Brussels to Zaire, Africa; and subsequently airlifting a pan-African peacekeeping force made up of troops from Morocco, Gabon, Ivory Coast and Togo. The airlifting of 31,559 Portuguese from Angola to Lisbon; airlifting 900 tons of supplies and relief workers info Guatemala to aid earthquake victims; also airlift relief to storm victims of Guam and earthquake victims in Turkey and the airlift of survivors and human remains from Jonestown, Guyana, to the United States.
General Nash is a qualified flight examiner in all Military Airlift Command aircraft and has logged more than 10,000 flying hours, including more than 1,200 hours in the C-5 Galaxy. He is also qualified to fly as a primary crew member in C-141, C-130, C-9 and CT-39 aircraft, and in H-1, H-3 and H-53 helicopters. He also become "jump-qualified" by completing the basic Airborne Parachutist Training Course.
His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal and Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster.
General Nash was promoted to the grade of major general on Aug. 1, 1977, with a date of rank July 1, 1974.
(Current as of March 1979)