Brigadier General E. Daniel Cherry entered the Air Force in July 1959 as an aviation cadet and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in July 1960. He served as a navigator with the 522nd Airborne Early Warning and Control Wing, McClellan Air Force Base, California, and McCoy Air Force Base, Florida, from February 1961 to March 1964. He then entered pilot training with the 3615th Pilot Training Wing, Craig Air Force Base, Alabama, and graduated first in his class in March 1965.
The general received training in F-105 Thunderchiefs at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, and was assigned to the 8th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base, West Germany, where he flew F-105s from October 1965 to January 1967. General Cherry then transferred to Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, and while serving with the 421st and 44th Tactical Fighter squadrons, completed 100 combat missions over North Vietnam. In August 1967 he became an F-105 instructor pilot and flight examiner with the 23rd Tactical Fighter Wing, McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas.
In June 1971 the general returned to Thailand, where he served with the 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base, and completed 185 combat missions flying F-4D Phantoms. During this tour of duty, General Cherry served as flight commander and chief of the 432nd Tactical Fighter Wing “Laredo” F-4 foward air controller program. He also was credited with the destruction of a North Vietnamese MIG-21.
In June 1972 General Cherry was assigned as operations officer with both the 71st and 94th Tactical Fighter squadrons, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. From January 1975 to August 1976 he served as chief of the Air Force operations briefing team, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. The general then served as commander and leader of the Air Force air demonstration squadron, the Thunderbirds, at Nellis Air Force Base. In April 1979 he became deputy commander of the 57th Combat Support Group at Nellis.
After graduating from the National War College in June 1980, the general served as commander of the 347th Combat Support Group, Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, and in July 1981 was assigned as vice commander of the 347th Tactical Fighter Wing at Moody. In November 1982 he transferred to Headquarters Pacific Air Forces, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, as director of inspection and in July 1983 became the inspector general, Pacific Air Forces. The general served as commander, 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, from May 1984 to June 1985, when he returned to Pacific Air Forces headquarters as deputy chief of staff for plans.
He assumed the position of commander, U.S. Air Force Recruiting Service, and deputy chief of staff for recruiting service and commissioning program, Headquarters Air Training Command, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, in August 1987. General Cherry retired December 1, 1988.
General Cherry is a command pilot with more than 4,000 flying hours. His military decorations and awards include the Silver Star with oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with nine oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with 34 oak leaf clusters, and Air Force Commendation Medal.