Donald L. Harlow

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Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force
Donald L. Harlow
Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Donald L. Harlow
2nd Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force (1969-1971)
Born (1920-11-20)November 20, 1920
Waterville, Maine
Died October 1, 1997(1997-10-01) (aged 76)
Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland
Allegiance United States United States
Service/branch
Years of service
  • 1942–1946
  • 1950–1971
  • (25 years)
Rank
Battles/wars
Awards See below

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Donald L. Harlow (November 20, 1920 – October 1, 1997) was the second Chief Master Sergeant, appointed to the highest non-commissioned officer position in the United States Air Force.

Military career[edit]

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Donald L. Harlow was adviser to Secretary of the Air Force Robert C. Seamans Jr. and Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. John D. Ryan on matters concerning welfare, effective utilization and progress of the enlisted members of the Air Force. He was the second chief master sergeant appointed to this ultimate noncommissioned officer position.

The chief was born in Waterville, Maine, on September 22, 1920. He graduated from Lawrence Academy, Groton, Mass., in 1942, and he attended California College of Commerce, Long Beach, Calif., during 1946 to 1948. He was awarded a bachelor of science degree in business administration by the college in 1956, when he completed requirements while assigned to the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Southern Methodist University.

Chief Harlow entered military service in August 1942 during World War II and was assigned to the Army Air Corps. He attended Armament School and upon completion was an instructor in the Aircraft Armament Ground School. He transferred to the personnel career field in 1945 and advanced to the grade of staff sergeant prior to his discharge from active duty in February 1946. He then became a member of the Air Force Reserve.

In August 1950 during the Korean War, Chief Harlow was recalled to active duty and assigned as the personnel chief clerk, 5th and 9th Maintenance Squadrons, Travis Air Force Base, Calif. He has held various positions in the personnel career field, increasing in responsibility. He was promoted to chief master sergeant in April 1963 after a total of 16 years active duty. He was the personnel sergeant major for Headquarters U.S. European Command and the sergeant major for the executive services division, Office of the Vice Chief of Staff. In 1969 he became the chief master sergeant of the Air Force.

From 1971 through 1981 Chief Harlow was the deputy for legislation for the Air Force Sergeants Association. He was primary spokesperson and legislative representative for the 146,000 member organization and its auxiliary. On May 20, 1980 he was inducted into the Military Order of the Sword by the enlisted men and women of the Tactical Air Command. He is the only enlisted person to receive this high honor. In 1982 Chief Harlow was named executive director of the Air Force Sergeants Association. While holding this position he continued to be the association's primary spokesperson on legislative matters. CMSAF Harlow served as Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force from August 1969 to September 1971. He died on June 18, 1997.

Education[edit]

Assignments[edit]

  1. August 1942 - October 1942, trainee, United States Air Force Basic Military Training, Atlantic City, New Jersey
  2. October 1942 - January 1943, student, Armament School, Buckley Field, Colorado
  3. June 1943 - September 1944, instructor, Aircraft Armament Ground School, Eagle Pass, Texas
  4. September 1944 - September 1945, instructor, Aircraft Armament Ground School, Matagorda Island Air Force Base, Texas
  5. September 1945 - February 1946, non-commissioned officer in charge, personnel processing, Foster Field, Texas
  6. February 1946 - August 1950, Reserve status (inactive)
  7. August 1950 - July 1951, recalled to active duty; personnel chief clerk, 5th and 9th Maintenance squadrons, Travis Air Force Base, California (temporary duty at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for special assignment to assist in formation of 5th Air Division)
  8. July 1951 - July 1954, personnel sergeant major, 5th Air Division; custodian, NCO Club; non-commissioned officer in charge, special services; and steward, Officers Club, Rabat, Morocco
  9. July 1954 - May 1955, personnel sergeant major, Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps Detachment 815, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas; non-commissioned officer in charge, cadet training and AFROTC Summer Encampment, Harlingen Air Force Base, Texas.
  10. May 1955 - August 1958, detachment sergeant major, 3635th Survival Training Wing, Stead Air Force Base, Nevada
  11. August 1958 - April 1963, directorate of personnel, 317th Combat Support Group, Pease Air Force Base, New Hampshire (temporary duty as student, Strategic Air Command Non-Commissioned Officer Academy)
  12. April 1963 - July 1965, personnel sergeant major, Air Force Element, Headquarters United States European Command, Camp des Loges, St. Germain, France
  13. July 1965 - July 1969, sergeant major, executive services division, Office of the Vice Chief of Staff, Headquarters United States Air Force, Washington, D.C.
  14. August 1969 - September 1971, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, Headquarters United States Air Force, Washington, D.C.

Awards and decorations[edit]

Personal decorations
Width-44 crimson ribbon with a pair of width-2 white stripes on the edges Legion of Merit
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Force Commendation Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster
Service awards
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Force Good Conduct Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Good Conduct Medal with two Good Conduct Loops
Outstanding Airman of the Year Ribbon
Campaign and service medals
American Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal
Bronze star
Width=44 scarlet ribbon with a central width-4 golden yellow stripe, flanked by pairs of width-1 scarlet, white, Old Glory blue, and white stripes
National Defense Service Medal with bronze service star
Service, training, and marksmanship awards
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Force Longevity Service Award with four bronze oak leaf clusters
NCO Professional Military Education Graduate Ribbon

Other achievements[edit]

  • Strategic Air Command NCO Academy, Student Commander Trophy, Gold Key for Academic Achievement, and The Drill and Ceremonies Military Achievement Award
  • 1967 Headquarters Command Outstanding Airman of the Year

Professional memberships and associations[edit]

  • Member, USAF Retiree Council
  • Member, Air Force Association
  • Chairman, Richard D. Kisling Scholarship Fund Committee

Effective dates of promotion[edit]

Promotions
Rank Date
E9 USAF CMSAF 1967-1991.png Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force August 1, 1969

Succession[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Paul W. Airey
Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force
1969-1971
Succeeded by
Richard D. Kisling

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Air Force document "Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Donald L. Harlow biography".