Joseph Ashy was born in 1940. He was commissioned a 2d Lt in the U.S. Air Force through the Air Force ROTC program at Texas A&M University on August 24, 1962, and went on active duty beginning September 30, 1962. Lt Ashy next attended Undergraduate Pilot Training and was awarded his pilot wings at Reese AFB, Texas, in October 1963, followed by F-100 Super Sabre Combat Crew Training at Luke AFB, Arizona, from November 1963 to July 1964. His first assignment was as an F-100 pilot with the 494th Tactical Fighter Squadron (TFS) at RAF Lakenheath, England, from August 1964 to August 1967. He then deployed to Vietnam, where he flew 289 combat missions with the 531st TFS and the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW) at Bien Hoa AB, South Vietnam, between August 1967 and August 1968. Capt Ashy served a tour with Headquarters U.S. Air Force in the Pentagon from September 1968 to August 1969, and then served as an instructor pilot at Luke AFB, Arizona, and then at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, from September 1969 to April 1972. Maj Ashy served on the staff of the Air Force Military Personnel Center at Randolph AFB, Texas, from April 1972 to June 1975, and then deployed to South Korea, where he served as operations officer for the 36th TFS at Osan AB from July 1975 to July 1976. Col Ashy next served as commander of the 421st TFS and assistant deputy commander for operations of the 388th TFW at Hill AFB, Utah, from August 1976 to August 1978, followed by Air War College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, from August 1978 to June 1979. He served another tour at the Pentagon from July 1979 to August 1982, and then was commander of the 37th TFW at George AFB, California, from August 1982 to May 1984. Gen Ashy was commander of the 57th Fighter Weapons Wing at Nellis AFB, Nevada, from May 1984 to February 1986, and then served on the staff of Headquarters Tactical Air Command at Langley AFB, Virginia, from February 1986 to June 1988. His next assignment was as commander of the U.S. Air Force Tactical Fighter Weapons Center at Nellis AFB from June 1988 to July 1989, followed by service as deputy chief of staff for operations and then vice commander of Tactical Air Command at Langley AFB from July 1989 to June 1990. Gen Ashy served as commander of Air Training Command at Randolph AFB from June 1990 to December 1992, and then was commander of Allied Air Forces Southern Europe from December 1992 to September 1994. During this time he also served as deputy commander in chief of U.S. Air Forces in Europe for the Southern Area from December 1992 to February 1994, and commander of 16th Air Force from February to September 1994. His final assignment was as commander in chief of North American Aerospace Defense Command, U.S. Space Command, and Air Force Space Command at Peterson AFB, Colorado, from September 1994 until his retirement from the Air Force on October 1, 1996.
His Silver Star Citation reads:
Captain Joseph W. Ashy distinguished himself by gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force as an F-100 pilot near Bo Duc, Republic of Vietnam on 29 November 1967. On that date, Captain Ashy was scrambled from the Alert Pad at Bien Hoa Air Base to provide close air support to the 5th Reconnaissance Company, 5th Vietnamese Army Division, located at the Bo Duc District Headquarters. The headquarters, consisting of two adjacent compounds, was receiving intense mortar/rocket attacks and frontal assaults from a numerically superior hostile force. During the course of the ground battle, one compound was overrun and Captain Ashy was directed to place his ordnance on the captured compound, only a few meters from friendly forces. With complete disregard for his own safety, he made pass after pass on the hostile positions, flying through a barrage of heavy automatic weapons fire on each pass. Through his selfless heroism and outstanding skill the compound was saved from capture by the attacking hostile forces. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Captain Ashy has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.