John A. Samford

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John A. Samford
Samford John Alexander 2.jpg
Born(1905-08-29)August 29, 1905
Hagerman, New Mexico
DiedNovember 20, 1968(1968-11-20) (aged 63)
Washington D.C.
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branchSeal of the United States Department of the Air Force.svg United States Air Force
Years of service1928 - 1960
RankUS-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant General
Commands heldDirector of the National Security Agency
Battles/warsWorld War II
Cold War
AwardsDistinguished Service Medal

John Alexander Samford (August 29, 1905 – December 1, 1968[1]) was a United States Air Force lieutenant general and a director of the National Security Agency.


Samford was born at Hagerman, New Mexico, in 1905. He graduated from high school in 1922 and then spent one year at Columbia University in New York City. In 1924, he received a senatorial appointment to the United States Military Academy. He graduated in 1928, 131st in a class of 260.

Second Lieutenant Samford's first assignment was that of a student officer at Brooks Field, Texas. In 1929, he received his pilot wings at Kelly Field and was eventually rated a command pilot.

Lieutenant Samford's first assignment after Kelly Field was Fort Crockett located at Galveston, Texas. In 1930, he returned to Kelly Field where he served as a flying instructor. In 1934, he was ordered to an Engineering and Armament School at Chanute Field, Illinois. From 1935 until 1942, he held various assignments in Panama, Virginia, Louisiana and Florida.

Colonel Samford was assistant chief of staff, G-1, Headquarters Third Air Force, in Tampa, Florida, when appointed chief of staff of the VIII Air Force Composite Command located in Northern Ireland.

Lieutenant General Samford.

In 1943, Colonel Samford was appointed deputy chief of staff of the Eighth Air Force, and later chief of staff of the VIII Bomber Command.

In 1944, Colonel Samford was promoted to brigadier general and appointed chief of staff of the Eighth Air Force. In October 1944 he was appointed deputy assistant chief of staff, A-2, Headquarters U.S. Army Air Forces.

In January 1947, Brigadier General Samford was appointed commander, 24th Composite Wing which soon thereafter became the Antilles Air Division of the Caribbean Air Command.

In May 1949, Brigadier General Samford was appointed commandant of the Air Command and Staff School. He was promoted to major general in 1950 and held a brief appointment as commandant of the Air War College before being appointed director of intelligence of the U.S. Air Force.

It was during Samford's tenure as director of Air Force intelligence that Project Blue Book, which investigated unidentified flying objects (UFOs) was started. On July 29, 1952 General Stamford conducted a press conference at the Pentagon related to UFOs.

In December 1954, General Samford went to Russia.

General Samford was mentioned at the beginning of the 1956 film UFO which examined the phenomena of unidentified flying objects.

He served as Vice Director of the National Security Agency from June to August 1956.

In November 1956, Major General Samford was appointed director of the National Security Agency and promoted to lieutenant general. He held this post until his retirement on November 23, 1960. His successor as NSA director was Admiral Laurence H. Frost. He died on November 20, 1968 in Washington, DC.



External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Ralph J. Canine
Director of the National Security Agency
Succeeded by
Laurence H. Frost
Preceded by
John Ackerman
Deputy Director of the National Security Agency
June 1956 – August 1956
Succeeded by
Joseph H. Ream