The first dual-hatted commander of US Transportation Command and Military Airlift Command, retired Gen. Duane Cassidy, died Feb. 8, the Air Force said. Cassidy was “a mobility pioneer” whose legacy will live on, said Air Mobility Command boss Gen. Carlton Everhart. Cassidy joined the Air Force in 1954 and flew bombers and cargo aircraft in his more than 35 years of Active Duty. In 1956, he participated in the hydrogen weapons test at Eniwetok Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Cassidy volunteered to serve in Vietnam, where he served with the 7th Air Force and the Military Assistance Command Vietnam directorate of public affairs. He was promoted to general and assumed command of MAC in 1985, and assumed command of USTRANSCOM when it was activated in 1987. “He shaped the future of what is now Air Mobility Command,” Everhart said. “We wouldn’t have been as successful in Desert Shield and Desert Storm if it weren’t for him. He fought for the [Civil Reserve Air Fleet], he brought the C-17 online, and he helped articulate the importance of aerial refueling and nuclear support missions.” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said Cassidy was a decorated war hero and a “legendary architect of Air Force transportation. Not only did he prove his worth in combat, he showed his heart in countless humanitarian missions around the globe.”
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.