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General Darren W. McDew

Military officer General Darren W. McDew was born on September 29, 1960 at Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Illinois to Delois McMillian and Abner McDew. He received his B.S. degree in civil engineering in 1982 from the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia and his M.S. degree in aviation management in 1994 from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida.

After being commissioned into the U.S. Air Force as a second lieutenant in 1982, McDew received his pilots’ wings at Williams Air Force Base in Maricopa County, Arizona and was trained on the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker at the 93rd Bomb Wing at Castle Air Force Base, California. In 1984, he was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant and assigned to the 42nd Air Refueling Squadron at Loring Air Force Base, Maine as a pilot instructor and flight commander. From 1989 to 1996, McDew served in several administrative and support capacities in Washington, D.C., including as an aide-de-camp to President Bill Clinton. In 2000, McDew was promoted to colonel and oversaw the 62nd Operations Group, at McChord Air Force Base, Washington until 2002. Other command assignments included the 375th Airlift Wing, Scott Air Force Base in Illinois; 43rd Airlift Wing, and Installation Commander, Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina; Air Force District of Washington, Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland; and stints at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C, first as director of public affairs in the office of the Secretary of the Air Force and later as vice director for strategic plans and policy for the Joint Staff. He was promoted to brigadier general in 2006 and was assigned commander of the 18th Air Force in 2012. Upon being promoted to the rank of four-star general in 2014, McDew served as commander of Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base. The following year, he became commander of U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM). McDew retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2018. In 2019, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao appointed him co-chair of the Special Committee to Review the Federal Aviation Administration’s Certification Process.

McDew has been awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal; the U.S. Air Force Distinguished Service Medal; the U.S. Air Force Achievement Medal; the Legion of Merit; the Meritorious Service Medal; the U.S. Army Commendation Medal; the National Defense Service Medal; and the Armed Forces Service Medal. He has also received the Vincent T. Hirsh Maritime Award for Outstanding Leadership, the National Society of Black Engineers Lifetime Achievement in Government Award, and an honorary doctorate in public administration from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. McDew was inducted into the Boys and Girls Club of America Alumni Hall of Fame in 2012.

McDew joined the boards of directors of Parsons Corporation in 2020 and General Electric in 2023.

General Darren W. McDew was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 23, 2023.

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Hampton High School

Virginia Military Institute

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

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North Carolina

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Short Description

Military officer General Darren W. McDew (1960 - ) served as the twelfth commander of the U.S. Transportation Command from 2015 to 2018. He previously served as U.S. Air Force commander of Air Mobility Command.


United States Air Force