Major General (ret) Wess P. Chambers is a decorated veteran of the Air National Guard who held multiple command positions during his thirty-eight year career. Since retirement in May 1990, he has volunteered his time and experience within the state of Arizona concurrently with co-founding C2 Associates, a unique DoD, DHS and NASA business development services organization of former military, congressional and private industry professionals with the experience, capabilities and relationships to enable rapid development, implementation and fielding of products and services “before normal processes allow.”
Born in Miami, Arizona, October 1932, he graduated from North Phoenix High School and attended Whittier College under a basketball scholarship in 1950, and while there also played baseball for the late great George Allen while concurrently playing Semi-Pro Baseball in Arizona. In 1955, after a two-year hiatus for US Air Force officer and flight training, he resumed college at the University of Arizona under a baseball scholarship and played in the 1956 College World Series in Omaha, NE for the Wildcats. After a second hiatus to start a family, he received a BS degree in Political Science from George Washington University in 1967 just after graduating from the United States Air Force Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, AL, in 1965.
In July 1952, General Chambers enlisted in the Arizona Air National Guard, entered aviation cadet training in February 1953 and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant along with graduating first in his class and receiving the Distinguished Graduate Award for Excellence in Military, Flying and Academic Training at James Connally Air Force Base, Texas, in May 1954. General Chambers completed advanced pilot training at Nellis AFB, Nevada, followed by his first operational assignment as an F-86 fighter pilot with the 197th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Arizona Air National Guard at Luke AFB, Glendale, AZ.
He transferred to the 152nd Fighter Interceptor Squadron (FIS), Arizona Air National Guard, Tucson, AZ, along with 35 select Guardsmen from the 197th in May 1956 to stand-up and activate the newly formed 152nd due to Senator Barry Goldwater’s continuing efforts on the heels of founding the Arizona National Guard in 1946. During this time, he served as a fighter pilot, assistant flight commander, flight commander, squadron operations officer and squadron commander. His additional duties included instrument training officer, scheduling officer, instructor pilot, Federal Aviation Agency liaison officer, and standardization and evaluation check pilot.
In July 1964, the 152nd FIS was authorized 162nd Fighter Interceptor Group (FIG) status with General Chambers serving as an operations staff officer followed by Group Deputy Commander for Operations upon graduation from USAF Command and Staff College in June 1965. He held this assignment until he was appointed Commander of the 162nd Tactical Fighter Training Group (TFTG) in October 1971, where he succeeded the first commander, Major General (ret) Donald E. Morris, and transitioned the unit to one of “Total Force” for training both US Air Force and Allied Nation fighter pilots, while establishing the joint Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Test Center (AATC). Over 40 years after inception, this ground-breaking Squadron transitioned through a Group level organization to the 162nd Fighter Wing and is now recognized as the world’s premier international fighter training base with more than 1,500 Guardsmen.
On April 1, 1981, he was promoted and federally recognized as a Brigadier General and appointed Deputy Director, Air National Guard Bureau in the Pentagon. In 1985 General Chambers was promoted to the rank of Major General and served as the first Air National Guard Assistant to the Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), Honolulu, HI. Followed in 1987 by Air National Guard Assistant to the Commander-in-Chief of the Tactical Air Command (TAC), Langley, VA, prior to his retirement in May 1990.
General Chambers is a Command Pilot with more than 6,000 hours, including 5,200 hours in “single engine” jet aircraft. Experience includes: T-6s; T-28s; T-33s; F-86As, Es and Fs; F-84Fs; C-45s; C-47s; F-102s; F-100As, Cs, Ds and Fs, A-7D and F-16. His military decorations and awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon with two oak leaf clusters, Combat Readiness Medal with one oak cluster, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon with five oak leaf clusters, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with hourglass device, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, Arizona Long Service Medal and Arizona Exceptionally Long Service Medal.