General Bruce Carlson is a native of Hibbing, Minnesota, and is a graduate of the University of Minnesota. While at the University, he completed the Air Force ROTC (Reserve Officer's Training Corps) program as a distinguished graduate. After completing undergraduate pilot training and combat crew training in the F-4 and OV-10 aircraft, he completed a combat tour in the Vietnam War. Following that tour, he served as an OV-10 instructor pilot until assigned to Myrtle Beach Air Force Base. During the period of December 1977 to May 1980, while at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, he was assigned to the 355th Tactical Fighter Squadron as an A-10 pilot and fighter weapons instructor. Other important assignments included Aide to the Commander, Tactical Air Command; Senior Military Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Washington, D.C.; Commander, 49th Tactical Fighter Wing, Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico; and Commander, 8th Air Force, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. In August 2005, he was appointed as the Commander of the Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. His major awards and decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal
with two oak leaf clusters, and the Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters.