General Darst entered the USAF as an Airman Basic in May 1951 and began his aviation training in Class 52-H as an Aviation Cadet at Columbus, MS. After completing his basic flying training, he was then assigned to Advanced Training at Reese AFB, TX for multi-engine aircraft training, flying the B-25. After completion in October 1952, he was commissioned 2nd Lt, and was sent to Combat Crew training for the B-26. He attended advanced pilot training at Perrin AFB, TX and Langley AFB, VA.
In Korea he flew B-26's from K-9 with the 17th Bombardment Wing until Apr 1954. During the Korean conflict, he completed eight combat missions, accumulating 46 combat hours. After his Korean tour he was assigned as Adjutant, 376th Aircraft and Electronic Maintenance Squadron, Barksdale AFB, LA. While there, he flew the B-26 and later the B-57. He was released from active duty in February 1956 and attended Law School from 1956 to 1958, graduating with a Juris Doctor degree from St. Louis University. While in law school he became a member of the Missouri Air National Guard. He was assigned to the 131st Bombardment Group at St. Louis and subsequently served as Survival Training Officer, pilot and Flight Commander and as Flying Safety Officer for the 131st Bombardment Wing.
In 1957, he performed a short tour of active duty as a T-33 instructor in the early stages of transition to the F-84 aircraft. He was recalled again to active duty with the 131st Tactical Fighter Wing during the Berlin Crisis on 5 October 61 and served with the unit in France until 21 July 62, when the unit returned to the United States. After reverting back to the Missouri Air National Guard status, he continued to serve as flight commander with the 110th Tactical Fighter Squadron, until his appointment as Wing Flying Safety Officer on 1 October 68. He was separated from the Missouri Air National Guard and transferred to the Air Force Reserve on 1 Jan 76. He rejoined the Missouri Air National Guard on 24 February 1977, after being appointed Assistant Adjutant General for Air. He was promoted to Brigadier General, retired from the Missouri Air National Guard and was transferred to the Retired Reserves.
He was a State Prosecutor from 1958 thru 1973 and then was an Administrative Law Judge for the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
Decorations and Awards: Presidential Unit Citation; Combat Readiness Medal; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; Armed Forces Reserve Medal with Hourglass Device; Korean Service Medal with one bronze star; United Nations Service Medal; National Defense Medal; Air Force Longevity Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters; Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Medal; Good Conduct Medal; Missouri Long Service Medal; and National Guard of the United States Service Ribbon.
Civic Affiliations: Missouri Bar Association; National Conference of Administrative Law Judges; St. Genevieve du Bois Catholic Church.