Brig. Gen. Richard F. Abel is director of public affairs, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Washington, D.C.
General Abel was born in Akron, Ohio, in 1933 and graduated from Saint Ignatius High School in 1951. He graduated from the University of Detroit in 1956 with a bachelor of science degree in business administration and a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force through the Reserve Officers Training Corps program. The general completed Squadron Officer School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in 1962. He also attended graduate school at Boston University.
After receiving his pilot wings in May 1957 at Laredo Air Force Base, Texas, General Abel was assigned to Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, as a training officer and academic instructor in the aviation cadet program; aide-de-camp to Major General Robert Stillman; and leader of the "Warhawk" jet acrobatic team. In June 1962 General Abel was assigned to Williams Air Force Base, Ariz., as an instructor pilot.
He was assigned as an air officer commanding at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., from January 1963 to May 1965 when he began his public affairs career as an information services officer. From May 1966 until June 1968, he was assigned as deputy chief of community relations and chief of the public affairs division at the academy. The general also was assistant football coach of the Air Force Academy Falcons during this time.
In July 1968 the general was assigned to the 7th Air Force in Saigon, Republic of Vietnam, as chief of the combat news division in the directorate of information. One year later he became a public affairs officer for the commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Command at Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii.
General Abel returned to the Air Force Academy in August 1972 as director of the Admissions Liaison Office. From February to March 1973, he was sent to the Pacific area to assist with Operation Homecoming. General Abel made five trips to Hanoi as a public affairs officer to escort returning American prisoners of war from the North Vietnamese prison camps.
The general returned to Camp H.M. Smith in September 1975 as director of public affairs for Pacific Command. He remained there until July 1978 when he was assigned as special assistant to the chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, in Washington, D.C. He assumed his present duties in August 1980.
His military decorations and awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Joint Service Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster and Air Force Commendation Medal.
The general is vice chairman, National Board of Directors, Fellowship of Christian Athletes; member, National Public Information Committee for the United Services Organization; member, Board of Directors, National Aeronautical Association; and member, Order of Daedalians.
He was promoted to brigadier general June 1, 1982, with date of rank Oct. 1, 1981.
(Current as of July 1983)