U.S. Air Force retired Maj. Gen. Stanton R. Musser, who served as Commandant of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets from 1989 to 1999, passed away on Monday, Oct. 8, in Blacksburg, Va.

Musser was born in 1936 in Watsontown, Pa., and earned a bachelor of science degree in physical education from Gettysburg College in 1958. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant through Air Force ROTC and proceeded to pilot training upon graduation.

Musser served two tours in Vietnam, in 1964 and again in 1970, flying a total of 263 combat missions, first in the O-1F Bird Dog and later in the F-4E Phantom II with the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing.

The general served at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., as an air officer commanding in 1966 and returned in 1975 and served as deputy commandant of the Cadet Wing and then as the vice commandant.

In late 1966 Musser was assigned to the U.S. Air Force Aerial Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. During his time as a team member, he flew more than 300 official aerial demonstrations in the United States and 20 foreign countries.

Musser also served in several command and staff positions before retiring from active duty, most notably as the vice commander of the first operational F-15 Eagle Wing, the 1st Tactical Fighter Wing, Langley Air Force Base, Va; the commander of the 33rd Tactical Fighter Wing, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.; chief of the Office of Military Cooperation, Cairo, Egypt; the deputy director of the Defense Logistics Agency; and finally, as the commander of the Air Force Inspection and Safety Center, Norton Air Force Base, Calif.

Musser was a command pilot with more than 4,500 flying hours in the F-4, F-15, and F-100. He also earned a master of arts degree in personnel management from Central Michigan University in 1975. His military decorations and awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with 10 oak leaf clusters and Air Force Commendation Medal.

Upon retiring from the Air Force in 1989, Musser took over as Commandant of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets for the next 10 years, retiring in 1999 as the then longest serving Commandant of Cadets in the university's history. Under his leadership the corps experienced major positive changes in the quality of the program while also embarking on the first period of sustained growth in several decades.

Former Corps of Cadets alumni director Col. Rock Roszak explains the impact Musser had on the corps, “The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets would not exist today without Gen. Stan Musser.  He took major steps to change how the corps treated its people and how it raised leaders. Under his tutelage the corps evolved from a right of passage organization to one focused on developing the whole person in a character-based curriculum. He oversaw the beginning of the leader development effort that is thriving today, and significant elements of our program, such as the Emerging Leader Scholarship and the start of what is now the Rice Center for Leader Development, occurred under his leadership.”

The Corps of Cadets placed a memorial wreath by the flag pole on the Upper Quad in honor of Musser and the flag is at half mast through Friday.

Musser’s survived by his wife of 53 years, Dawn Burg Musser, three children: retired Lt. Col. Scott L. Musser, Shari Musser Jones, Kristin Musser Asbury; and their spouses, Janeal Taylor Musser, Greg H. Jones, and Randy Asbury. He is also survived by his six grandsons, Sean, Ryan, Alec, and Bret Musser; and Cole and Clay Jones. His step-father Warren West; sister and brother-in-law, Betty and Tom Verica; sister Sandra Musser; Terry West; Sandy High; and Sharron Musser Lloyd.

Funeral services will be conducted Saturday, Oct. 20, at 10 a.m. in the Blacksburg United Methodist Church with the Rev. Reggie Tuck. Interment will follow in Arlington National Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, at the McCoy Funeral Home. 

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate contributions to the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Scholarship fund, University Development (0336), Blacksburg, VA 24061, attention: Corps of Cadets or The Wounded Warrior Project in memory of Maj. Gen. Stan Musser.

Share this story