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Military leader to speak at ECU commencement

Lt. Gen. Gary L. North
GREENVILLE, N.C.   (Apr. 27, 2009)   —   Lt. Gen. Gary L. North, commander of the 9th Air Force and U.S. Air Forces Central and an East Carolina alumnus, will deliver the keynote address at ECU’s spring commencement Friday, May 8.

The ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. with a concert by the ECU Wind Ensemble; the student processional will begin at 6:30 p.m., rain or shine, at the Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

Almost 3,400 students have applied for spring graduation, according to the ECU registrar’s office. That number represents approximately 2,325 undergraduates, more than 1,000 graduate/professional students, and 65 medical students.

Departments and colleges will hold individual recognition events on Saturday, May 9. Visit for the schedule.

In 1976 after completing ECU’s ROTC program as a distinguished graduate, North was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Air Force. Today, North is responsible for the command of more than 350 aircraft and 24,000 active-duty and civilian personnel in the eastern United States.

He is also responsible for the operational readiness of 18 9th Air Force-gained National Guard and Air Force Reserve units comprising the Air Reserve Component. As the Air Component Commander for U.S. Central Command, the general is responsible for developing contingency plans and conducting air operations in a 27-nation area of responsibility covering Central and Southwest Asia and the Horn of Africa.

North has held numerous operational, command and staff positions, and has completed seven overseas tours. His last assignment was the Director for Operations at U.S. Pacific Command. The general has served two tours on the Joint Staff, including executive assistant to the Joint Staff Director, and Director of Politico-Military Affairs for Asia-Pacific where he was responsible for regional planning and policy for the Asia-Pacific, South Asia and Central Asia regions. He also served as Deputy Director of Joint Matters at Headquarters U.S. Air Force.

North has commanded the 33rd Fighter Squadron at Shaw AFB, S.C.; 35th Operations Group at Misawa Air Base, Japan; 8th Fighter Wing at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea; and the 18th Wing at Kadena Air Base, Japan. He is a command pilot with more than 4,100 flying hours, primarily in the F-4, F-15 and F-16. He flew 54 combat missions during operations Desert Storm and Southern Watch.

North received the 2008 Outstanding Alumni Award from the East Carolina Alumni Association.

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Contact: Jeannine Manning Hutson | 328-6481