Tony E. Gallegos was a World War II veteran and politician of Mexican American and Native American descent. He served in the U.S. Army Air Force from 1943 to 1946. A native of Montrose, Colorado (born February 13, 1924), he served as flight engineer in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, flying 17 missions in a B-17 bomber. After the war, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Bisttram Institute of Fine Art in California. He worked at the Douglas Aircraft Company in California in a number of managerial positions from 1952 to 1982, achieving the position of Corporate Art Director.
Early in his professional career Tony Gallegos recognized the damage brought on by societal injustices. This led to his lifetime membership in the American GI Forum where he quickly rose from Commander of the Pico Rivera Chapter to California State Commander and then to National Chairman. He spearheaded the Coors Beer boycott, the GI Forum march in Washington, D.C., East Los Angeles moratorium and social injustice demonstration confronting President Richard Nixon in San Clemente, California. Tony Gallegos was a founding member and first Chair of the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation. He served on the national board of Operation SER and boards of the Los Angeles County Office of Economic Development and Veterans Outreach. He served as advisory member to the US Senate Task Force on Hispanic Affairs, and as President/CEO of Veterans in Community Service.
On February 4, 1982, President Ronald Reagan nominated Tony Gallegos to be a Commissioner on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for a term to expire July 1, 1984. President Reagan then nominated him for another term on the EEOC to expire July 1, 1989. On November 21, 1989, President George H. W. Bush nominated Tony Gallegos to the EEOC for the term expiring July 1, 1994. When on April 5, 1993, President Bill Clinton designated Commissioner Gallegos as Acting Chair of the EEOC, he became the Commission's first Hispanic leader to serve in that capacity. In total, Commissioner Gallegos served on the EEOC from 1982 to 1994. Commissioner Gallegos distinguished himself by expanding title Seven, 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Tribal Employments Rights Program, and the voluntary Assistance and Expanded Presence Program.
Tony Gallegos was married to the late Carmen Gallegos for 55 years. Together they raised their children Michael, who became a financial planner, and Lori who became an attorney. They were loving grandparents to Angela, Rachel, and Brandon.