Air Force 4-star General Darren W. McDew was born in Rantoul, Illinois, on September 29, 1960. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in engineering in 1982 from the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia.
With his officer’s commission, McDew trained as pilot in the 82d Flying Training Wing, Williams Air Force Base, Arizona. He next took combat crew training in the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker in the 93rd Bomb Wing at Castle Air Force Base, California. From 1984 to 1989, McDew was at the 42nd Air Refueling Squadron, Loring Air Force Base, Maine, as pilot instructor and flight commander. From 1989 to 1996, McDew served in administrative and support capacities in Washington, D.C., most notably when as Air Force aide to President Bill Clinton at the White House from 1994 to 1996. In 2000 McDew was promoted to then rank of Colonel and was put in charge of the 62nd Operations Group, McChord Air Force Base in Washington State. Later command assignments were with the 375th Airlift Wing, Scott Air Force Base in Illinois; 43rd Airlift Wing, and Installation Commander, Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina; Air Force District of Washington, Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland; and two stints at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. He was made Commander of the 18th Air Force in 2012 and promoted to Lieutenant General.
Upon being promoted to the rank of 4-star General on May 5, 2014, McDew took command of Air Mobility Unit at Fort Scott Air Force Base, in Illinois. The following year he served as Commander, United States Transportation Command (nicknamed USTRANSCOM) headquartered at Fort Scott, which provided air, land, and sea transportation for the Department of Defense during peacetime and war and moved personnel and materiel to destinations around the world. Under the United States Department of Defense, in heading USTRANSCOM, McDew is responsible for coordinating the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command, the Navy’s Military Sealift Command, and the Army’s Surface Deployment and Distribution Command.
Among McDew’s numerous awards and decorations are the Armed Forces Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Command Pilot Badge, and Presidential Service Badge.
During the earlier years of his Air Force career McDew logged more than 3,300 flight hours in military aircraft ranging from the small, twin engine Cessna T-37B, to the Northrup T-38A supersonic trainer jet, the Bell UH-1N Twin Huey helicopter, the Lockheed C-130 Hercules turboprop transport plane, to the mammoth four-jet engine Boeing C-17 Globemaster III.
Married since 1983 to the former Evelyn K. Massenburg, they have a daughter, Keisha, and a son, Keith, an officer in the United States Coast Guard.