Earned his pilot wings in 1944 and was assigned to the 12th Combat Cargo Squadron where he flew C-47 and C-46 missions.
Served during the Korean War as a F-80C Shooting Star pilot with the 49th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at Dow Air Force Base.
Served at the Directorate of Flight and All-Weather Testing, where he specialized in the development and flight testing of experimental automatic flight control systems.
Attended the Air Force Experimental Flight Test Pilot School. He was assigned to the Air Force Flight Test Center in 1957, first as an experimental flight test officer then eventually as Assistant Director of flight test operations.
Test-flew F-101 Voodoos, F-104 Starfighters, F-105 Thunderchiefs, and other jet fighters.
Piloted the X-15 a record of 34 times and was the second Air Force X-15 pilot to attain the astronaut rating for flights 50 miles high or higher.
Flew 189 combat missions in Vietnam in F-4 A/Cs.
Became commander of the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB, responsible for major test programs such as the F-5, A-10, F-15, YF-16, YF-17, and B-1.