Major General Shirley M."Sam" Carpenter is mobilization assistant to the commander in chief, Air Mobility Command, with headquarters at Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
General Carpenter was born July 22, 1937, in Orange County, Va. He attended public schools in Williamsburg, Va., graduating from James Blair High School in 1956. He earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Virginia in 1960, and a master of science degree in counseling and guidance from Troy State University in 1976. The general completed Squadron Officer Schoolin 1967, Air Command and Staff College as a distinguished graduate in 1976, and the National War College in 1982.
Upon graduation as a distinguished graduate of the University of Virginia's Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program in June 1960, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant. The general earned pilot wings in March 1962 as a member of the first all-jet undergraduate pilot training class at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. His first assignment out of pilot training was with the 44th Air Transport Squadron, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., flying C-135B aircraft for the Military Air Transport Service. After upgrading to aircraft commander in the C-135B, he transitioned to the C-141A in February 1965. Shortly thereafter, he upgraded to aircraft commander, then to flight examiner, in the Starlifter.
In November 1968 the general separated from active duty and was employed by TransWorld Airlines as a pilot and flight engineer. In June 1969 he joined the newly formed Reserve Associate unit at McGuire Air Force Base, N.J. The unit was transitioning to the C-141A aircraft and later became the 514th Military Airlift Wing. When furloughed by Transworld Airlines in 1970, he became an air reserve technician at McGuire Air Force Base, working as a squadron standardization officer and, later, as acting wing standardization officer. In 1975, while attending Air Command and Staff College, General Carpenter wrote a research paper on low-level windshear that influenced the Military Airlift Command's aircraft low-level windshear procedures.
The general's next assignment was to the 702nd Military Airlift Squadron, McGuire Air Force Base, as an operations and training officer. He was recalled by TransWorld Airlines in June 1977 but retained his Reserve status. In February 1979 he assumed command of the 702nd Military Airlift Squadron and served in that capacity until April 1981, when he was assigned as vice commander of the 514th Military Airlift Wing, McGuire Air Force Base.
While attending National War College, General Carpenter was again recognized for his research efforts by directing a research team to examine personnel aspects of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet. The results of this study had a significant impact on the future management and perception of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet program. The paper was selected for the Air Force Association's Award for Excellence in Research and Writing.
In July 1982 he was recalled to active duty and served as the Reserve adviser to the commander in chief, Military Airlift Command, Scott Air Force Base. In this position, he was actively involved in many vital total force issues, including active-reserve force-mix studies and strategic airlift conversions into the air reserve forces.
General Carpenter became deputy to the chief of Air Force Reserve, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., in May 1985, and assisted the chief in planning, programming and budgeting. He separated from active duty in October 1989 and became mobilization assistant to the commander in chief, Military Airlift Command. He assumed his current position in July 1992.
The general is a command pilot with more than 9,000 flying hours, including 83 combat support missions to South Vietnam. His military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with three oak leaf clusters, Combat Readiness Medal with four oak leaf clusters, National Defense Service Medal, Armea Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with three service stars, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
In his civilian capacity, General Carpenter is a pilot check airman with TransWorld Airlines.
His professional affiliations include membership in the Air Force Association, Airlifters Association, Reserve Officers Association, Order of the Daedalians and National War College Alumni Association.
He was promoted to major general April 22, 1990, with same date of rank.
(Current as of February 2021)