biographical data

William Cooley biography: 13 things about US Air Force major general


William T. Cooley is a United States Air Force major general. In 1988, he graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, USA with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and entered the Air Force through the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program.

From July 1988 to January 1990, Cooley was a Sandia National Laboratories research assistant. He became a second lieutenant on May 19, 1988 and a first lieutenant on June 19, 1990 and graduated from the University of Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA with a master’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1990.


From January 1990 to September 1992, Cooley was the Space Power Programs project manager at the Aerospace Power Division of the Wright Laboratory of Air Force Research Materiel Command (AFMC) in Dayton, Ohio, USA. From September 1992 to June 1993, he was an electronic device engineer at the laboratory’s research division.

On June 19, 1992, Cooley became a captain. Here are 13 more things about him:

  1. In 1995, he attended Squadron Officer School at the Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, USA.
  2. In 1997, he graduated from the Air Force Institute of Technology at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton with a PhD in engineering physics. From January 1997 to January 2000, he was the laser applications group and branch chief of the AFMC’s semiconductor laser branch at the Kirkland Air Force Base in Albuquerque. On October 1, 1999, he became a major.
  3. From January 2000 to July 2002, he was a staff officer, the deputy chief and the deputy director of the US Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) Warrior Preparation Center at the Einsiedlerhof Air Station in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany.
  4. From June 2003 to April 2005, he was a Military Satellite Communications Directorate (MILSATCOM) program element monitor. He attended the Air Command and Staff College at the Maxwell Air Force Base in 2003, became a lieutenant colonel on March 1, 2004 and served as the Office of Security Cooperation defense sector program manager in Kabul, Afghanistan from April 2005 to November 2005.
  5. From November 2005 to July 2006, he was the Headquarters, US Air Force (HQ USAF) chief of staff in Washington, D.C., USA.
  6. On September 1, 2007, he became a colonel. He was the USAF Electronic Systems Center (ESC)’s distributed common ground system director from June 2007 to June 2008 and group manager from June 2008 to June 2010. He attended the National War College at Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington, D.C. in 2007, completed a program managers course at the Defense Systems Management College in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, USA in 2008 and completed a senior manager course in national security at the Elliott School of International Affairs of George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and an executive program managers course at the Defense Systems Management College in 2009.
  7. From July 2010 to June 2013, he was the Phillips Research Site and Materiel Wing director at the Kirkland Air Force Base. In 2011, he attended the U.S. Air Force Enterprise Leadership Seminar at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia.
  8. From July 2013 to July 2015, he was the global positioning system (GPS) director at the Space and Missile System Center at the Los Angeles Air Force base in Los Angeles, California, USA. In 2014, he and Brian C. Ruhm co-authored “A Guide for DoD Program Managers“, which was published by Defense Acquisition University Press.
  9. On March 1, 2015, he became a brigadier general. From August 2015 to April 2017, he was the Missile Defense Agency‘s program executive for programs and integration in Huntsville, Alabama.
  10. From May 2017 to January 2020, he was the Air Force Research Laboratory commander at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
  11. On July 3, 2018, he became a major general. On August 12, 2018, he allegedly sexually assaulted her sister-in-law at her home in Albuquerque.
  12. In January 2020, he became a special assistant for digital transformation at the AFMC.
  13. On April 23, 2022, he was found guilty of abusive sexual contact for forcibly kissing his sister-in-law on July 3, 2018, making him the first general officer in US Air Force history to be court-martialed.

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