2004 Fellow

Presented to: Maj. Gen. John W. Hepfer  (Posthumous)

Citation: For his contributions as a practical navigator, research and development project officer, and strategic missile program manager resulting in the development and production of a multitude of navigation, guidance and control systems for both fighter and bomber aircraft, and intercontinental ballistic missiles.


Major General John W. Hepfer was the former deputy for Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, Space and Missile Systems Organization (SAMSO), Air Force Systems Command out of North Air Force Base, Calif.

Gen. Hepfer held degrees in mathematics and physics from Bridgewater College in 1950. He received his master of arts degree in quantitative analysis from the University of Maryland in 1966 and was a graduate of the Harvard Business School's Program for Management Development.

Gen. Hepfer enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on July 30, 1942, where he flew 44 combat missions in the Southwest Pacific as an aircraft navigator. During his career, he served as chief of guidance and control for the Minuteman Missile program, assistant deputy chief for Systems Command, Commander—Rome Air Development Center, and commander of the Air Force Ballistic Missile Office directing all efforts related to the Minuteman and MX missile programs.

Gen. Hepfer was the 1977 recipient of the Air Force Association's General Bernard A. Schiever Award in recognition of his engineering and managerial contributions to the national defense. His military decorations include the DoD Distinguished Service Medal and the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with one oak leaf cluster, the Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters and the Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster. He was a master navigator and was promoted to the grade of Major General on July 1, 1977, with date of rank May 1, 1974.