MARCH ARB, CALIFORNIA — Russell A. Muncy is a brigadier general in the Air Force by confirmation of the United States Senate. The official pin-on ceremony was held in January. Muncy is commander of March Field’s host unit, the 452nd Air Mobility Wing, which is the Air Force Reserve Command’s largest wing. He is also a native of Hazard, Kentucky.
Muncy’s parents are Bob and Gayle Muncy of Hazard. For many years, the family operated a service station downtown, across the street from what is now the Triangle Park. Before Russell Muncy pursued his successful career in the military, he helped work the service station in Hazard. The following commentary is taken from an article written by Linda Welz for The Beacon.
From a small Kentucky town, Muncy said his family was by no means wealthy. As a young lad, he accompanied his engineer grandfather on surveying jobs and found that he enjoyed the engineering perspective. When it came time to think about college and a career path, engineering factored into his decision when the idea of applying for the Air Force Academy came up.
“I applied for a couple of reasons,” Muncy said. “One, the Air Force Academy was and is a top notch engineering school, and two, the cost of education was and is government funded, alleviating the need for me to ask my parents to pay for or assist in paying for my continued education.”
That’s how Muncy got into the Air Force, but staying in was a different story, he said.
“I was, as a young cadet, extremely homesick with no military background whatsoever–definitely out of my element,” he said. “That first year at the Academy was an eye-opening, head-jarring experience to say the least. But, I did end up staying and graduated in 1983. After graduation, I chose to go to pilot training as I felt that was another career opportunity for my post-military career.”
“I became a KC-135 pilot in 1984 and flew tankers for another six years before getting out in December 1990 with the intent of going to the airlines,” Muncy said.
The irony in Muncy flying tankers for much of his career is that his family owned and operated a full service gas station for more than 40 years. He said that he spent many days, afternoons and weekends working there.
“I went from pumping gas at my family’s service station to joining the Air Force, only to find myself pumping gas at 30,000 feet. But at least I didn’t have to wash the windows anymore,” he said.
The complete article by Welz can be found in the Dec. 18 edition of The Beacon.
Brigadier General Muncy served at the Major Command level, as the AFRC headquarters tanker operations officer at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia, where he orchestrated AFRC’s tanker operations in response to the events of Sept. 11, 2001. He was deployed numerous times in support of operations, such as Desert Shield, Joint Forge, Deliberate Guard, Northern Watch and Enduring Freedom, and he has been deployed in a joint role for operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn. He became a Level II Joint Qualified Officer in 2013. The General is a command pilot, having flown more than 4,300 hours in T-37, T-38, KC-135a/R and C-17 A.
Russel Muncy was accompanied by his wife, Angela, to the pin-on ceremony, where he was pinned by his parents, Bob and Gayle Muncy, as well as his in-laws, William and Bonnie Dutton. On top of the pin-on ceremony, which happened in January, Muncy was also honored as Citizen of the Year for 2016 in Moreno Valley, California. The General is a Class of 1979 graduate from Hazard High School.
Sam Neace can be reached at 606-629-3243 or on Twitter @HazardHerald.