John Toomay Dies

Toomay was a player-coach for Andrews AFB here in Prince George’s County. His Air Force team won 52 straight games in the mid-1950’s, and played in the All-Service Tournament and All-Air Force Championships in 1954-55. Kentucky stars Lou Tsiropolous and Cliff Hagan played on the team with Toomay. In 1954 Andrews beat Sampson AFB for the branch championship. His son Pat was an All-Met high school basketball player at Alexandria’s Edison High in the late 1960’s, and later a Dallas Cowboy defensive end:,0,5205102.story

John Toomay, at 88; shaped nuclear tactics in US defense
By Matt Schudel, Washington PostWASHINGTON – John C. Toomay, 88, a retired Air Force major general who was a key architect of nuclear defense strategies – and who holds a dubious record from his days as a professional basketball player – died March 12 of peritonitis at his home in Carlsbad, Calif.
General Toomay spent much of his Air Force career developing strategic plans for radar and missile defense programs, primarily at the Pentagon. He was among the Defense Department officers who helped design the nuclear strategies that have guided US defense policies for decades.
He was born in Ontario, Calif. After graduating from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., he enlisted as a private in the Army Air Forces in 1943.

He was quickly promoted to the officer corps, but because he was too tall – 6 feet 7 inches – to be a pilot, he served as a communications officer. For 14 months during World War II, he commanded an isolated outpost in Greenland.

From 1947 to 1950, General Toomay played professional basketball with the Chicago Stags, Providence Steamrollers, Baltimore Bullets, Washington Capitols and Denver Nuggets. When he played with Washington in 1948-49, his coach was Red Auerbach, who later led the Boston Celtics to nine NBA titles.

General Toomay holds the NBA record for most personal fouls in a playoff game – eight. Today, a player is disqualified with six fouls. When General Toomay played, he remained in the game, accumulating fouls, because his team had no substitute players on the bench.

In 1950, General Toomay was recalled to serve in the Air Force in the Korean War.

During the 1950s, he received a second bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, from the University of Southern California. He received an MBA from George Washington University in the 1960s.

In the early 1970s, he was commander of the Rome Air Development Center, now the Rome Laboratory, in Rome, N.Y., where he supervised two radar programs.

From 1972 to 1979, he was stationed at the Pentagon, where he worked in strategic and space system planning and helped formulate nuclear missile projects and other defense systems.

He retired from the Air Force in 1979.

His decorations included the Distinguished Service Medal, two awards of the Legion of Merit, and two awards of the Meritorious Service Medal.

He settled in California after retiring from the Air Force and in 1984 cowrote “Radar Principles for the Non-Specialist,” which is in its third edition and widely used as a textbook.

General Toomay enjoyed golf and watching sports. One of his sons, Pat, was a defensive end in the National Football League for 10 years, primarily with the Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders.

General Toomay’s wife of 60 years, Virginia, died in 2005.

In addition to his son, of Albuquerque, General Toomay leaves three other children, Timothy of Pleasant Hill, Calif., Michele Toomay Douglas of Fort Worth, and Leslie Hess of Ojai, Calif.; a brother; and four grandsons.






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