Vandenberg, Jr., Hoyt Sanford [MGen USAF]

Hoyt S. Vandenberg, Jr.

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Hoyt S. Vandenberg, Jr.
Hoyt Vandenberg, Jr. pictured as brigadier general as Commandant of the United States Air Force Academy, c. 1970s
Born August 12, 1928 (age 87)
Riverside, California
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Air Force
Rank Major General

Hoyt Sanford Vandenberg, Jr. (born August 12, 1928) is a retired Major General in the United States Air Force.


Vandenberg was born in Riverside, California in 1928. His father was General Hoyt Vandenberg and his great uncle was U.S. Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg. Vandenberg would obtain a M.S. in International Relations from George Washington University in 1969.


Vandenberg graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1951. In 1953 Vandenberg was assigned to the 86th Fighter-Bomber Wing. Later he would serve as a flight commander with the413th Tactical Fighter Wing and the 31st Tactical Fighter Wing. He graduated from the Air Command and Staff College in 1961, after which he was assigned to the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing. In 1963 Vandenberg was appointed Operations Officer with the 23rd Tactical Fighter Squadron. During theVietnam War Vandenberg commanded the 390th Tactical Fighter Squadron. Upon returning stateside he was assigned to The Pentagon to work in the Office of the Director of Plans. He would graduate from the National War College in 1969 and return to The Pentagon to work with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In 1971 Vandenberg became commander of the 12th Flying Training Wing. Vandenberg was named Vice Commandant of Cadets at the United States Air Force Academy in 1972. He would serve as Commandant from 1973 to 1975, during which time he assumed the rank of Brigadier General. From 1976 to 1979 Vandenberg served at Headquarters U.S. Air Force, first as Deputy Director of Plans, later as Director of Operations and Readiness, and finally as Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Plans, and Readiness. Vandenberg was ultimately named Vice Commander in Chief of the Pacific Air Forces. His retirement was effective as of January 1, 1981.

Awards he has received include the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, the Bronze Star Medal, the Air Medal with two silver oak leaf clusters and bronze oak leaf cluster, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Outstanding Unit Award, the Combat Readiness Medal, the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge, and the Vietnam Gallantry Cross.

Meeting Charles Lindbergh

In an interview with journalist David Leighton, published in the Arizona Daily Star newspaper, on May 27, 2014, Vandenberg shared this story about meeting well-known aviator Charles Lindbergh:

“In 1949, on summer leave from West Point, I flew with my father to Europe to visit some of the headquarters he had during World War II. Aboard the aircraft was Charles Lindbergh, with whom I had an all-night visit. He had refused a bunk and told me he had trouble sleeping over the Atlantic ever since his famous solo flight. I wasn’t about to sleep and pass up the chance to talk to him. We talked all night. He was very interested in the type of girls that West Point graduates married. It was almost as though he felt the offspring of graduates should perpetuate the sterling qualities embodied in our motto, “Duty, Honor, Country.”