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Tigers: Tracking a Legend
Vice Admiral Richard K. GallagherVice Adm. Richard K. Gallagher was born in Traverse City, Michigan. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in June 1976 and was designated a naval aviator in September 1977 at Chase Field in Beeville, Texas. He earned a bachelor's degree in physics and a master's degree in public administration from George Washington University, and attended the military's Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
Gallagher's first fleet assignment was to Fighter Squadron 103 where he was deployed twice aboard the USS Saratoga, flying both the F-4J and F-4S. In October 1981, he reported for pilot transition in the F-14 to Fighter Squadron 101 at Naval Air Station Oceana, where he remained as an instructor.
Following an F-14 fleet tour in Fighter Squadron 143, Gallagher reported to Naval Strike Warfare Center in Fallon, Nevada in October 1987. While there, he served as their operations officer and flew the F/A-18 and F-14.
In February 1990, Gallagher was promoted and reported to Fighter Squadron 142 as executive officer, and then as commanding officer, making two deployments aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower spanning Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
He went on to command the Navy Fighter Weapons School, TOPGUN, from September 1993 to December 1994, flying the F-16N and F-14. He underwent nuclear power training in January 1995 and served as the executive officer of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower from September 1996 to October 1997.
Gallagher commanded the USS Inchon-the world's only mine counter measures command and support ship-from January 1998 to June 1999. From there, he became the third commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis. While on this tour, he piloted the F/A-18 Hornet from his own flight deck, and was proud to become an honorary master chief petty officer.
He then was promoted to flag rank and assumed duties as the head of Policy with NATO at SACLANT in Norfolk, Virginia from 2001 to 2003. In October of 2003, Gallagher assumed command of Carrier Group 4, which was re-designated Commander, Carrier Strike Force Training Atlantic in October of the following year.
The Gallaghers then departed to Europe for seven years where he was the U.S. European Command's director of the European Plans and Operations Center, and then remained in Germany to become the EUCOM deputy commander. His last assignment on active duty was in Brussels, Belgium as the U.S. military representative to the NATO Military Committee.
Vice Admiral Gallagher has logged more than 4,000 flight hours and 800 carrier landings while operating a number of different fighter aircraft, including the F-4, F-14, F/A-18 and F-16N.
He has received two Defense Distinguished Service Medals, two Defense Superior Service Medals, four Legions of Merit, two Meritorious Service Medals, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, the NATO Meritorious Service Medal, and numerous other awards.
In September 2012, Gallagher retired from the Navy after 36 years. He was recently awarded the "Amicus Wimpina" medal by the good people of Bad Wimpfen, Germany, signifying their long relationship and mutual respect. He has also participated in two forums on Iran sponsored by the Hinckley Institute of Politics in Salt Lake City and UCLA, dealing with issues regarding the Iran-U.S. relationship, giving his expert opinion on the subject. Gallagher currently volunteers with the National Ability Center of Park City, Utah, helping those with disabilities learn adaptive skills through sports and recreation.