White Sands Commanders

Major General Joe Owens
17th White Sands Missile Range Commander
04 June 1986 – 16 October 1987

Major General Joe S. Owens, the 17th Commander of White Sands Missile Range, was born in Little Rock, Arkansas on 04 December 1931. Upon completion of the Reserve Officers Training Corps curriculum and the educational course of study at the University of Oklahoma, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant and awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. He also holds a Master of Science degree in Public Administration. His military education includes completion of the Field Artillery School’s Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the US Army Command and General Staff College, and the US Army War College.

He became Commanding General, White Sands Missile Range in June 1986. Other key assignments held include a tour as Deputy Commanding General, VII Corps; US Army Europe and Commander, Greater Stuttgart Military Community; Commanding General, US Army Readiness and Mobilization Region VII; and Deputy Commanding General, Fifth US Army, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

MG Owens served in a variety of important career building assignments preparatory to his later senior duties as a Commanding General. He had been the Assistant Chief of Staff, G1 (Personnel) and Commander of the 1st Battalion, 5th Artillery, both in the 1st Infantry Division, Vietnam. Also in Vietnam, he commanded the 7th Battalion, 15th Artillery, 1st Field Force. He was the Chief, Automation and Reports Branch, Control Division, Joint Secretariat, Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, DC. At Fort Sill, Oklahoma he served as the Director of Personnel and Community Activities for the U.S. Army Field Artillery Center. There he was also Deputy Commander, and later Commander, III Corps Artillery. In Europe, he was Commander of Division Artillery, and subsequently Chief of Staff, in the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized). He also served as the Chief of Staff V Corps.

Awards and decorations MG Owens has received include the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Meritorious Service Medal, several Air Medals, and the Army Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters.

He was married to the former Ruth Ann Gray. They had two children: Joe S. Jr. and Lisa Ann Hawkins.

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