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COLONEL C. GENE WHISNANT
Gene Whisnant retired from the USAF in October 1993. In his 27 year
career, he served in command, leadership, staff and diplomatic
Colonel Whisnant was born December 8, 1943, in
Caroleen, NC. He was graduated from West Mecklenburg High School,
Charlotte, NC in 1962. He earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at
the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1966 and a master’s
degree in international relations from the University of Arkansas in
1976. Colonel Whisnant has completed Squadron Officer School, Air
Command and Staff College, and the National Defense University.
Whisnant was commissioned in 1966 through the Air Force Reserve Officer
Training Corps Program. He was first assigned as an audiovisual officer
at Vandenberg AFB, CA. In 1968, he commanded an audiovisual unit at
DaNang AB, RVN, the photographically documented USAF activities in the
Vietnam War. He flew on 32 combat missions as a combat photographer. In 1969, he commanded an audiovisual unit at Colorado Springs,
CO. He returned to the Vandenberg AFB audiovisual unit in 1970 as the
squadron operations officer. In 1973, he assumed the command of the
audiovisual unit at Weisbaden AB, Germany, which later moved to Rhein
Main AB, Germany. Next, he attended the Air Command and Staff College at
Maxwell, AFB, AL. After graduation in 1978, he was assigned to
Headquarters Military Airlift Command, Scott AFB, IL, as a plans and
programming officer. In 1980, Colonel Whisnant was assigned to the Air
Staff, Washington, DC as an international political-military affairs
officer in the Office of the Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force. He
served as a liaison officer for foreign air attaches in Washington, DC.
In 1985, he transferred to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, International Programs and Technology, as a manager of international cooperative programs with the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Yugoslavia. He participated in negotiations with foreign militaries on cooperative agreements such as Strategic Defense Initiative and on certain agreements he led the US DoD negotiating team. After attaché training, he assumed the duties as the Defense and Air Attaché to Yugoslavia in June 1990. He was also responsible for the Yugoslav Security Assistance Program and served as the senior EUCIM military representative in Yugoslavia. His Unit was selected as the best Defense Attaché Office human intelligence collectors in 1991 based upon the unit’s outstanding and timely reporting of the Yugoslav War.
After his diplomatic duty, He returned to Washington, DC where he served as the American Forces Information Service Assistant Director for Defense Audiovisual Policy, under the Office of the Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs. He was responsible for visual information, audiovisual, and Combat Camera Policy and management oversight within the Department of Defense.
His Military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Air Force Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the German Federal Armed Forces Commendation in Silver, and the Joint Service Achievement Medal.