Brigadier General Edward A. “Ed” McIlhenny retired as the  Assistant Adjutant General for Air who served as Commander for the Kansas Air National Guard, Topeka,Kansas. At the time of his     retirement, the Kansas Air National Guard was comprised of two  refueling wings, a bombing range, an air control squadron,  weather flight, intelligence squadron, information warfare  squadron and a network operations security center.

He attended the United States Air Force Academy. During his time at the Academy, he distinguished himself as a four-year letterman in lacrosse, earning honors asMost Valuable Player, and Team Captain. He completed his Bachelor of Science in Engineering Sciences in 1974. Upon graduation, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant and entered undergraduate pilot training at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. He flew F4s at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, and at Keflavik Naval Air Station, Iceland, where he intercepted twenty-twoSoviet TU 95 “Bear” bombers. In Iceland, he was a member of the 57th Fighter Interceptor Squadron 1978 William Tell Competition Team. Following this assignment,heperformedduty flying the O2A as a forward air controller at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. In 1981 after six years of active duty, he accepted a full-time assignment with the Kansas Air National Guard as an F4 instructor pilot at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. With the acceptance of a pilot position for American Airlines in 1984, he transitioned to a “traditional” guardsman role and continued as an instructor pilot as the unit transitioned from F-4s to F-16 A’s and C’s, and then B-1Bs.

During General McIlhenny’s twenty-two years of service in the Kansas Air National Guard, he served as a flight scheduler, academic instructor, and flight examiner. As the commander of the largest Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron in the Air National Guard, he led the reorganization of the unit to an Aircraft Generation Squadron. In 1997, he was selected as the vice commander of the 184th Bomb Wing and held this position for two years. He commanded the 184th Bomb Wing for the next two years.  Subsequently, he was selected as the Chief of Staff for the Kansas Air National Guard and was promoted to Brigadier General. In May 2003, he assumed command of the Kansas Air National Guard as the Assistant Adjutant General for Air.  He retired from this position and the US Military in 2007. He is a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College, completed in 1983 and the Air War College, completed in 1996.


1974 Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering Sciences, United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs
1984 Air Command and Staff College, by correspondence

1996 Air War College, by correspondence

2003 CAPSTONE, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.

2004 National Security Program, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Cambridge, Massachusetts


July 1974 – August 1975, student, undergraduate pilot training, Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas

January 1976 – August 1976, student, F-4E operational training, 308th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Homestead Air Force Base, Florida

September 1976 – December 1977, F-4E pilot, 339th Fighter Squadron, Moody Air Force Base, Georgia

January 1978 – December 1978, F-4C/E pilot, 57th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Keflavik, Iceland

January 1979 – August 1980, forward air controller, O-2A pilot, Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina

January 1981 – May 1986, F-4D instructor pilot, Kansas Air National Guard, McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas

June 1986 – July 1992, F-16 instructor pilot, Kansas Air National Guard, McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas

July 1992 – July 1997, CAMS/AGS Commander, 184th Bomb Wing, Kansas Air National Guard, McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas

July 1997 – February 1999, Vice Commander, 184th Bomb Wing, Kansas Air National Guard, McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas

February 1999 – December 2000, Commander, 184th Bomb Wing, Kansas Air National Guard, McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas

January 2001 – May 2003, Chief of Staff, Kansas Air National Guard Headquarters, STARC, Topeka, Kansas

May 2003 – 2007 Assistant Adjutant General/Air, Air Commander, Topeka, Kansas


Rating: Command pilot

Flight hours: More than 20,000

Aircraft flown: B-1B, F-16A/B/C/D, F-4C/D/E, O-2A

Boeing 727, DC9, Boeing 757/767

Owner: B36 Bonanza


Air Force Distinguished Service Medal

Legion of Merit Air Force Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster
Air Force Commendation Medal

Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with four oak leaf clusters
Combat Readiness Medal

National Defense Service Medal with bronze star Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Air Force Overseas Service Ribbon – Short Tour

Air Force Longevity Service Award with one silver oak leaf cluster
Armed Forces Reserve Medal with bronze hourglass

Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon with bronze star
Air Force Training Ribbon

Kansas Commendation Ribbon

Kansas National Guard Service Medal with one device


Second Lieutenant Jun 5, 1974 First Lieutenant Jun 5, 1976 Captain Jun 5, 1978
Major Aug 1, 1987

Lieutenant Colonel Jul 22, 1992 Colonel Jun 27, 1997
Brigadier General March 30, 2001



Sam Bass entered the USAF December 1953, Pilot Class 55J). On April 16, 1954 he soloed in a Piper PA-18 at Marana Air Base in Arizona. During his pilot training he flew the PA-18, T-6, T-28, and the T-33.

Upon graduation in June,1955 he was stationed overseas at Adana and Ankara, Turkey. In Turkey he flew the C-47s and L-20s, support aircraft for radar sites on the Black Sea.

He returned to the US in June, 1957 and was stationed at Turner AF Base, Albany, GA until December 1958 where he flew the L-20 and C-123.

In November 1958 Sam went to work for Delta Airlines. During his career he would flew the DC-3, Convair 440, Convair 880, C-46, DC-6, DC-7, DC-8, DC-9, Boeing 747, and the Lockheed 1011.

He was Captain on the DC-3, CV-880, DC-6, DC-7, DC-8, DC-9, and the L-1011. He also was an instructor and line check airman on the CV-880, DC-6, DC-7, and the L-1011.

In August of 1993 he retired from the airlines after 33+ years. Sam has remained active in flying through with the Experimental Aircraft Association and Warbirds of America, since 1994. With this association he has had the privilege of flying the B-17 and the Ford Tri-motor. For seven years he flew as Captain on the restored DC-3, ship #41, owned by Delta Airlines.

He holds type ratings in the B-17, CV-880, CV-990, DC-6, DC-7, DC-8, DC-9, L-1011, and LR-jet. His total flying time equates to over 34,000 continuous hours since April 1954.

Sam has enjoyed owning and flying the T-6, T-34, PA-18, Cessna 140, Beechcraft Duchess, Beech Bonanza, Cessna172 and Cessna182.

In 2016 Sam was awarded The Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award. This is the most prestigious award the FAA issues to pilots certified under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 61. This award is named after the Wright Brothers, the first US pilots, to recognize individuals who have exhibited professionalism, skill, and aviation expertise for at least 50 years while piloting aircraft as “Master Pilots”.