Brig. Gen. Benjamin B. Cassiday Jr., is assigned to Air University as commandant of the Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps, the Air Force's largest continuing source of career officers. Working in close partnership with institutions of higher learning in 47 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, he is responsible for the selection, preparation and commissioning of high quality officers in a quantity appropriate to meet Air Force requirements. He is also responsible for the Air Force Junior ROTC program in high schools across the nation.
General Cassiday was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1922, where he received his early schooling. He graduated from Culver Military Academy, Ind., in 1940 and from the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., in June 1943, where he earned his pilot wings and commission as second lieutenant.
From June 1943 until April 1944, General Cassiday was a fighter pilot with fighter groups in Massachusetts and North Carolina. During World War II, he served with the 79th Fighter Group in Corsica, France, and Italy and completed 116 combat missions in P-47 aircraft. At the end of World War II, as commander of the 87th Fighter Squadron, he remained with the 79th Group for two years in the occupation of Austria.
In July 1947 he was transferred to the 27th Fighter Wing, Kearney Army Air Field, Neb., as wing operations officer. In November 1947 he was assigned to the 81st Fighter Group, Wheeler Air Force Base, Hawaii, initially flying long-range P-47 aircraft and subsequently the F-86 Sabre. Also for six months during this period he was a member of the U.S. Air Force Olympic tryout team as a 400-meter hurdler for the 1948 Olympics. When the 81st Fighter Group moved to Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., in June 1949, General Cassiday remained with the group as squadron operations officer.
General Cassiday began his next assignment in January 1950 as an exchange pilot with the U.S. Navy. He flew 43 Korean combat missions in F-9F Panther Jets from the carrier USS Philippine Sea.
He returned to the 81st Fighter Group at Larson Air Force Base, Wash., in April 1951 as group executive officer and while with the group, made the only Atlantic crossing in the F-86A aircraft. From December 1951 to May 1953, he was a squadron commander with the 81st Fighter Group at Bentwaters Royal Air Force Station, England, and in April 1953 became commander of the 81st Group.
In January 1955 he was appointed deputy commandant of cadets and commander of the Cadet Wing at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. He remained there through the graduation of the first class in June 1959 and then was assigned as deputy commander of the 78th Fighter Wing at Hamilton Air Force Base, Calif., flying F-104 and F-101 aircraft.
General Cassiday became a student at the National War College in Washington, D.C., in August 1961. In August 1962 he began a four-year assignment to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, initially as chief of the Air Defense Division, Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations, and the last three years as secretary of the air staff. In August 1966 he assumed command of the 36th Tactical Fighter Wing, Bitburg, Germany, flying F-4D Phantom II aircraft, In April 1967 he was designated chief of the Air Force section, Joint U.S. Military Mission for Aid to Turkey, Ankara, Turkey.
General Cassiday was assigned to Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in August 1969 as commandant of the Air Force ROTC.
He is a command pilot with more than 4,500 flying hours, including more than 290 combat hours. His military decorations and awards include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross, Soldier's Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with seven oak leaf clusters and two Navy gold stars, Presidential Unit Citation Emblem with oak leaf cluster, Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, Navy Outstanding Service Medal, British Distinguished Flying Cross, Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon, and Philippine Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon.
He was promoted to the temporary grade of brigadier general effective Aug. 1, 1967, with date of rank July 19, 1967.
(Current as of February 2021)