General (Ret.) Billy J. Boles joined the Air Force during a tumultuous time in United States history. The year was 1962, and many young Americans were being drafted into the Army. Boles was faced with a critical decision: do nothing and risk being drafted, or voluntarily join the military and have more control over his career. He chose to press ahead with his Reserve Officer Training Corps commitment and started a long and accomplished career.
Boles, a native of King, N.C., started his career as assistant officer in charge of the student records section at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. He served in many personnel officer billets, including a deployment and follow-up assignment to Tan Son Nhut Air Base, South Vietnam. He was then assigned to the Air Force Military Personnel Center at Randolph AFB, Texas, an assignment he credits as having the most impact on him and his career. After multiple assignments between AFMPC and Headquarters U.S. Air Force in Washington, D.C., Boles earned the rank of four-star general and assumed command of Air Education and Training Command from June, 1995, until his retirement April 1, 1997.