Maj. Gen. Walter J. “Buck” Sams is the Mobilization Assistant to the Commander, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. PACAF is responsible for Air Force activities spread over half the globe in a command that supports more than 46,000 Airmen serving principally in Japan, Korea, Hawaii, Alaska and Guam.
Maj. Gen. Sams was commissioned in 1984 from the University of Georgia’s Air Force ROTC program. He completed 15 years in the Air Force, four years in the Air National Guard and 15 years in the Air Force Reserve. He served as an air liaison officer in Operation Desert Storm and flew 234 combat hours in Operations Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. He performed duties as an F-16 Fighting Falcon instructor pilot, weapons officer, air operations center chief of combat operations and combatant command center director. He also commanded a fighter squadron and fighter wing.
Maj. Gen. Sams is a command pilot with more than 3,500 hours in the F-16 Fighting Falcon. He is also a pilot and captain at a major airline.
1984 Bachelor of Science, Computer Science, University of Georgia, Athens
1991 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
1994 F-16 Weapons Instructor Course, U.S. Air Force Weapons School, Nellis AFB, Nev.
1998 Air Command and Staff College, by correspondence
1999 Master of Science, Aeronautical Science, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Fla.
2005 Air War College, by correspondence
2011 Commander Air Force Forces Senior Staff Course, Fort Dix, N.J.
2011 Leadership Enhancement Program, Center for Creative Leadership, Greensboro, N.C.
2011 Defense Support of Civil Authorities, Phase II, San Antonio
2011 Senior Executive Fellows Program, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Cambridge, Mass.
2014 Joint Forces Air Component Commander Course, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2015 Joint Forces Operational Warfighting Course, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
1. December 1984 - November 1985, Student, Undergraduate Pilot Training, 82nd Student Squadron, 82nd Flying Training Wing, Williams Air Force Base, Ariz.
2. December 1985 - March 1986, Student Pilot, Lead-in Fighter Training, 479th Tactical Training Wing, Holloman AFB, N.M.
3. April 1986 - November 1986, Student Pilot, F-16 Replacement Training Unit, 58th Tactical Training Wing, Luke AFB, Ariz.
4. November 1986 - December 1989, F-16 Pilot and Flight Lead, 526th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 86th Tactical Fighter Wing, Ramstein Air Base, Germany
5. December 1989 - March 1991, Air Liaison Officer, 4th Air Support Operations Group, Baumholder, Germany
6. June 1991 - July 1994, F-16 Instructor Pilot, Mission Commander, Flight Commander and Assistant Operations Officer, 70th and 307th Fighter Squadrons, 347th Fighter Wing, Moody AFB, Ga.
7. July 1994 - December 1994, Student, F-16 Weapons Instructor Course, U.S. Air Force Weapons School, Nellis AFB, Nev.
8. January 1995 - May 1997, F-16 Instructor Pilot, Mission Commander, Weapons Officer and Standardization/Evaluation Flight Examiner, 36th Fighter Squadron, 51st Fighter Wing, Osan AB, South Korea
9. May 1997 - December 1999, Action Officer and Branch Chief, Advanced Programs Division, Directorate of Requirements, Headquarters Air Combat Command, Langley AFB, Va.
10. December 1999 - March 2004, Air National Guard, F-16 Instructor Pilot, Mission Commander, Weapons Officer and Standardization/Evaluation Flight Examiner, 157th Fighter Squadron, 169th Fighter Wing, McEntire ANG Station, S.C.
11. March 2004 - November 2005, Air Force Reserve, F-16 Instructor Pilot, Mission Commander and Standardization/Evaluation Flight Examiner, 307th Fighter Squadron Detachment 1, Shaw AFB, S.C.
12. November 2005 - April 2007, Operations Officer and Commander, 307th Fighter Squadron, Langley AFB, Va.
13. June 2007 - December 2010, Vice Commander and Commander, 419th Fighter Wing, Hill AFB, Utah
14. December 2010 - September 2013, Mobilization Assistant to the Commander, First Air Force, Tyndall AFB, Fla.
15. September 2013 - April 2015, Deputy Director of Operations, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Peterson AFB, Colo.
16. April 2015 - March 2017, Mobilization Assistant to the Commander, Seventh Air Force, Osan AB, South Korea
17. April 2017 - present, Mobilization Assistant to the Commander, Pacific Air Forces, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii
SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS
1. September 2013 - April 2015, Deputy Director of Operations, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. as a major general
Rating: command pilot
Flight hours: more than 3,500
Aircraft flown: F-16
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal
Bronze Star Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with five oak leaf clusters
Air Medal with oak leaf cluster
Aerial Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant Sept. 10, 1984
First Lieutenant Sept. 10, 1986
Captain Sept. 10, 1988
Major July 1, 1996
Lieutenant Colonel Dec. 18, 2001
Colonel Feb. 16, 2006
Brigadier General Jan. 1, 2013
Major General July 15, 2016
(Current as of March 2020)