A native of Dawson, Georgia, Anthony "Tony" Cushenberry attended Albany High School, and in 1953 attended the University of Georgia on a football scholarship. In 1956, he earned Southeastern Conference honors and "Most Valuable Player," for which he was later inducted into the Albany, Georgia, Sports Hall of Fame. Cushenberry served his country with distinction in the 1960s during his first Air Force combat tour in Southeast Asia, flying F-105s from Thkhli Air Base in Thailand. He flew a total of 125 combat missions against heavily defended targets in North Vietnam and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his aerial skills and devotion to duty during combat as a flight leader. While assigned to Spangdahlem, Germany, he was the "Top Gun" in the F-l00 and the F-105. In 1966, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, he transitioned to the F-4 Phantom and was again named "Top Gun." Colonel Cushenberry served as an instructor pilot at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, from 1968-1970, then at the Air Force Academy as Air Officer Commander. In the latter assignment, he worked as an instructor pilot with cadets in the Academy's "Soaring Program," logging over 1,100 flights. In 1973, Cushenberry volunteered for a second combat tour in Southeast Asia. In addition to the Distinguished Flying Cross, he holds the following decorations: Air Medal with Seven Oak Leaf Clusters, Meritorious Service Medal with One Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Citation and the Legion of Merit. He returned to the University of Georgia in 1983 as Professor of Aerospace Studies and Commander of the Air Force ROTC program. Cushenberry's detachment not only was chosen as the top unit among the 36 in the Southeastern United States, but ranked 2nd out of all 158 detachments in the nation for all three years. During his Air Force career he amassed over 4,600 hours flying time in fight¬er planes and was an instructor pilot in the F-100 and F-4. He commanded the 434th TFS and the 9th TFS and was Director of Operations for the 4th TFW and 13th Air Force. Cushenberry retired from military service in 1986 and resides with his wife Marie in Watkinsville, Georgia.
For outstanding contribution to the Air Force, both in combat and as a leader of young men and women cadets, Colonel Anthony "Tony" Cushenberry, Sr., was enshrined in the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame on April 26, 2003.