KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Dick Webber started his career as a cadet in Colorado at the US Air Force Academy. He retired 35 years later as Major General. Cyberspace operations and Missiles were the focus of his exceptional service.

“I absolutely loved it. I loved the camaraderie, the mission, focus and attention to detail that you have to have in the nuclear business. I commanded at Squadron level, Group level, and Wing level,” said Webber.

Long before he assumed those commands he learned that all things come to those who wait. The Air Force Academy had been his first choice among military colleges, but the last one to say, yes.

“Coast Guard came through right away and offered to me. West Point came fairly quickly after that. Then I waited and waited. Finally, West Point came back and said if you don’t sign up in the next week, then we’re going to pull the offer. Then the Air Force finally came through,” said Webber.

His eyesight prevented him from flying as a navigator. So he chose missile operations.

As a Captain, he developed operational concepts for basing mobile Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. He became such a systems expert, he served at NATO headquarters, in Brussels.

Later, as a Lt. Colonel, he oversaw the first deactivation in the history of the Minuteman Missile program. At that point, he turned to space operations.

He was sent to the Middle East following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

“I was deployed to the Air Operations Center which was in Saudi Arabia. My job was the director of Space Forces,” said Webber.

At the time he was on the list to become a one-star, Brigadier General.

“So when I arrived I was a colonel and I pinned on, this is kind of special, my promotion ceremony was on the combat ops floor during combat operations. It doesn’t get any better than that,” said Webber.

In retirement, his passion has been on the young men and women destined for the Academy and those attending.

“They are literally the best of the best. I get to see them because I still do admissions liaison work for the Air Force Academy. These young folks are great,” said Webber.’

If you know a veteran who could be recognized, send an email to or call d-dare at 865-633-6923.