List of lieutenant generals in the United States Air Force before 1960

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This is a complete list of lieutenant generals in the United States Air Force before 1960, including those appointed in the United States Army from the United States Army Air Forces or United States Army Air Corps before the Air Force was established in 1947. The grade of lieutenant general (or three-star general) is ordinarily the second-highest in the peacetime Air Force, ranking above major general and below general.

List of U.S. Air Force lieutenant generals before 1960[edit]

The following list of lieutenant generals includes all officers of the United States Air Force, United States Army Air Forces, and United States Army Air Corps who were appointed to that rank prior to January 1, 1960.[1]

Entries are indexed by the numerical order in which each officer was appointed to that rank while on active duty, or by an asterisk (*) if the officer did not serve in that rank while on active duty. Each entry lists the officer's name, date of rank,[2] date the officer vacated the active-duty rank,[3] number of years on active duty as lieutenant general (Yrs),[4] positions held as lieutenant general, and other biographical notes.[5]

Italics denote active duty as lieutenant general while on the retired list.

The list is sortable by active-duty appointment order, last name, date of rank, date vacated, and number of years on active duty as lieutenant general.

Name Date of rank[2] Date vacated[3] Yrs[4] Position Notes[5]
1 Delos C. Emmons 25 Oct 1940   30 Jun 1948   8   (1888–1965)[6][7]
2 Frank M. Andrews 19 Sep 1941   3 May 1943   2   (1884–1943)[6][8] Died in office.
3 Henry H. Arnold 15 Dec 1941   19 Mar 1943   1   (1886–1950)[6] Promoted to general, 19 Mar 1943; to general of the Army, 21 Dec 1944; to general of the Air Force, 7 May 1949.
4 George H. Brett 7 Jan 1942  
1 May 1945  
30 Apr 1945  
10 May 1946  
4   (1886–1963)[6][9]
5 William S. Knudsen 28 Jan 1942   1 Jun 1945   3   (1879–1948) Resigned.
6 Joseph T. McNarney 15 Jun 1942   7 Mar 1945   3   (1893–1972)[6] Promoted to general, 7 Mar 1945.
7 George C. Kenney 15 Oct 1942   9 Mar 1945   2   (1889–1977)[6] Promoted to general, 9 Mar 1945.
8 Millard F. Harmon 2 Feb 1943   27 Feb 1946   3   (1888–1946)[6] Died in office.
9 Carl A. Spaatz 12 Mar 1943   11 Mar 1945   2   (1891–1974)[6] Promoted to general, 11 Mar 1945.
10 Barton K. Yount 13 Sep 1943   30 Jun 1946   3   (1884–1949)[6][10]
11 Ira C. Eaker 13 Sep 1943   30 Aug 1947   4   (1896–1987)[6][11][12] Promoted to general on the retired list, 26 Apr 1985.
12 James H. Doolittle 13 Mar 1944   22 Jul 1946   2   (1896–1993)[6][13] Promoted to general on the retired list, 4 Apr 1985.
13 Lewis H. Brereton 28 Apr 1944   1 Sep 1948   4   (1890–1967)[6]
14 Barney M. Giles 28 Apr 1944   30 Jun 1946   2   (1892–1984)[6][10]
15 Harold L. George 16 Mar 1945  
1 Mar 1955  
30 Dec 1946  
4 Nov 1955  
2   (1893–1986)[6][11][14]
16 John K. Cannon 17 Mar 1945   29 Oct 1951   7   (1892–1955)[6] Promoted to general, 29 Oct 1951.
17 Hoyt S. Vandenberg 17 Mar 1945   1 Oct 1947   3   (1899–1954)[6] Promoted to general, 1 Oct 1947.
18 George E. Stratemeyer 28 May 1945   31 Jan 1952   7   (1890–1969)[6]
19 Nathan F. Twining 5 Jun 1945   10 Oct 1950   5   (1897–1982)[6] Promoted to general, 10 Oct 1950.
20 Ennis C. Whitehead 5 Jun 1945   31 Jul 1951   6   (1895–1964)[6]
21 Idwal H. Edwards 1 Oct 1947   23 Feb 1953   5   (1895–1981)[15]
22 Howard A. Craig 1 Oct 1947   30 Jun 1955   8   (1897–1977)
23 Benjamin W. Chidlaw 1 Oct 1947   29 Oct 1951   4   (1900–1977) Promoted to general, 29 Jul 1951.
24 Lauris Norstad 1 Oct 1947   5 Jul 1952   5   (1907–1988) Promoted to general, 5 Jul 1952.
25 Curtis E. LeMay 1 Oct 1947   29 Oct 1951   4   (1906–1990) Promoted to general, 29 Oct 1951.
26 Elwood R. Quesada 1 Oct 1947   31 Oct 1951   4   (1904–1993)[16]
27 Edwin W. Rawlings 1 Oct 1947   19 Feb 1954   6   (1904–1997) Promoted to general, 19 Feb 1954.
28 Hubert R. Harmon. 19 Feb 1948  
28 Feb 1953  
8 Nov 1953  
27 Feb 1953  
30 Jun 1953  
31 Jul 1956  
8   (1892–1957)[17]
29 Kenneth B. Wolfe 16 Sep 1949   30 Jun 1951   2   (1896–1971)
30 William E. Kepner 14 Jun 1950   28 Feb 1953   3   (1893–1982)
31 Richard E. Nugent 11 Apr 1951   31 Aug 1951   0   (1902–1979)
32 Earle E. Partridge 11 Apr 1951   19 Feb 1954   3   (1900–1990) Promoted to general, 19 Feb 1954.
33 Robert W. Harper 11 Apr 1951   1 Jul 1954   3   (1900–1982)
34 Otto P. Weyland 11 Apr 1951   5 Jul 1952   1   (1902–1979) Promoted to general, 5 Jul 1952.
35 Laurence S. Kuter 11 Apr 1951   29 May 1955   4   (1905–1979) Promoted to general, 29 May 1955.
36 Thomas D. White 28 Jul 1951   30 Jun 1953   2   (1901–1965) Promoted to general, 30 Jun 1953.
37 Orval R. Cook 28 Jul 1951   1 Apr 1954   3   (1898–1980) Promoted to general, 1 Apr 1954.
38 Charles B. Stone III 28 Jul 1951   30 Jun 1957   6   (1904–1992)
39 Frank F. Everest 20 Dec 1951  
1 May 1953  
30 May 1952  
1 Jul 1957  
5   (1904–1983)[18] Promoted to general, 1 Jul 1957.
40 Glenn O. Barcus 10 Jun 1952  
26 Jul 1954  
31 May 1953  
1 Aug 1960  
7   (1903–1990)[19]
41 Charles T. Myers 5 Jul 1952   31 Jul 1958   6   (1900–1976)
42 Laurence C. Craigie 5 Jul 1952   1 Jul 1955   3   (1902–1994)
43 Charles P. Cabell 5 Jul 1952   11 Jul 1958   6   (1903–1971) Promoted to general, 11 Jul 1958.
44 Leon W. Johnson 5 Jul 1952   31 Aug 1957   5   (1904–1997) Promoted to general, 31 Aug 1957.
45 Joseph Smith 5 Jul 1952   30 Jun 1958   6   (1901–1993)
46 David M. Schlatter 5 Sep 1952   31 Jul 1957   5   (1901–1974)
47 Bryant L. Boatner 5 Sep 1952   1 Sep 1955   3   (1907–1986)
48 Joseph H. Atkinson 3 Mar 1953   28 Feb 1961   8   (1900–1984)
49 Samuel E. Anderson 1 May 1953   10 Mar 1959   6   (1906–1982) Promoted to general, 10 Mar 1959.
50 Emmett O'Donnell Jr. 1 May 1953   31 Jul 1959   6   (1906–1972) Promoted to general, 31 Jul 1959.
51 William H. Tunner 22 Jul 1953   31 May 1960   7   (1906–1983)
52 Donald L. Putt 22 Jul 1953   30 Jun 1958   5   (1905–1988)
53 Truman H. Landon 19 Feb 1954  
1 Jun 1959  
20 Jun 1956  
28 Jun 1961  
6   (1905–1986)[20] Promoted to general, 28 Jun 1961.
54 Thomas S. Power 6 Apr 1954   30 Jun 1957   3   (1905–1970) Promoted to general, 30 Jun 1957.
55 Roger M. Ramey 6 Apr 1954   31 Jan 1957   3   (1903–1963)
56 Patrick J. Timberlake 10 May 1955   31 Jul 1957   2   (1901–1983)
57 Clarence S. Irvine 10 May 1955   30 Apr 1959   4   (1898–1975)
58 Elmer J. Rogers, Jr. 15 Jul 1955   31 Dec 1961   6   (1903–2002)
59 Manuel J. Asensio 15 Dec 1955   1 Feb 1960   4   (1906–1983)
60 Earl W. Barnes 20 Jun 1956   30 Sep 1957   1   (1902–1979)
61 Frederic H. Smith Jr. 20 Jun 1956   1 Aug 1959   3   (1908–1980) Promoted to general, 1 Aug 1959.
62 Dean C. Strother 5 Sep 1956   30 Jun 1962   6   (1908–2000) Promoted to general, 30 Jun 1962.
63 Frank A. Armstrong Jr. 17 Sep 1956   31 Jul 1961   5   (1902–1969)
64 John A. Samford 24 Nov 1956   23 Nov 1960   4   (1905–1968)
65 Walter E. Todd 28 Jun 1957   31 Jul 1961   4   (1906–1978)
66 Richard C. Lindsay 29 Jun 1957   30 Apr 1960   3   (1905–1990)
67 John K. Gerhart 30 Jun 1957   29 Jun 1962   5   (1907–1981) Promoted to general, 29 Jun 1962.
68 William E. Hall 1 Jul 1957   1 Oct 1961   4   (1907–1984)
69 Francis H. Griswold 29 Aug 1957   1 Aug 1964   7   (1904–1989)
70 William F. McKee 30 Aug 1957   29 Jun 1961   4   (1906–1987) Promoted to general, 29 Jun 1961.
71 William D. Eckert 31 Aug 1957   1 Apr 1961   4   (1909–1971)
72 George W. Mundy 1 Nov 1957   31 Jul 1963   6   (1905–2000)
73 Oliver S. Picher 1 Apr 1958   11 May 1960   2   (1905–1984)
74 Roy H. Lynn 2 Apr 1958   31 Aug 1959   1   (1905–1992)
75 Roscoe C. Wilson 1 Jul 1958   1 Nov 1961   3   (1905–1986)
76 Robert M. Lee 15 Jul 1958   4 Jun 1963   5   (1909–2003) Promoted to general, 4 Jun 1963.
* Claire L. Chennault 18 Jul 1958   (none) 0  
  • (none)
(1890–1958)[21]
77 Robert W. Burns 1 Aug 1958   10 Aug 1964   6   (1908–1964)
78 Bernard A. Schriever 25 Apr 1959   1 Jul 1961   2   (1910–2005) Promoted to general, 1 Jul 1961.
79 Mark E. Bradley 27 Jun 1959   1 Jul 1962   3   (1907–1999) Promoted to general, 1 Jul 1962.
80 Walter C. Sweeney Jr. 28 Jun 1959   30 Jun 1961   4   (1909–1965) Promoted to general, 30 Jun 1961.
81 Archie J. Old Jr. 29 Jun 1959   1 Sep 1965   6   (1906–1984)
82 John P. McConnell 30 Jun 1959   1 Oct 1962   3   (1908–1986) Promoted to general, 1 Oct 1962.
83 James E. Briggs 1 Aug 1959   1 Aug 1963   4   (1906–1979)
84 Emery S. Wetzel 1 Sep 1959   31 Aug 1961   2   (1907–1989)

Timeline[edit]

An officer held the active-duty grade of lieutenant general (Lt.gen.) in the U.S. Army (USA) or U.S. Air Force until his death, retirement, resignation, reassignment to a lesser position, or promotion to a higher grade such as general (Gen.) or general of the Army (Gen.Army).

History[edit]

The United States Air Force originated as the Air Corps of the Regular Army. During World War II the Regular Army was augmented with a larger temporary force of reservists, volunteers, and conscripts to form the Army of the United States. Air personnel in the combined force belonged to the Army Air Forces. After the war, all Air Corps and Army Air Forces personnel split off from the Army to form the independent Air Force.

1939–1947 (U.S. Army Air Forces)[edit]

The first United States airman to become a lieutenant general was Delos C. Emmons, commanding general of General Headquarters Air Force, who was appointed to that grade under a 1940 law authorizing the President to appoint Regular Army officers to temporary higher grades in the Army of the United States. The first airman to become a lieutenant general in the Regular Army was Frank M. Andrews, who was automatically elevated to that grade upon assuming command of the Panama Canal Department in 1941. The Regular Army grade of lieutenant general had been abolished at the end of World War I, but was revived in 1939 when Congress authorized the officers commanding certain important Army formations to be temporarily appointed to the grade while detailed to those positions; these commands included the four field armies and the Panama Canal and Hawaiian Departments.[22]

Numerous airmen were promoted to lieutenant general during World War II. Lieutenant generals typically commanded one of the numbered field armies or air forces; served as deputy theater commanders; or headed major headquarters staffs, administrative commands, or support organizations. Most World War II lieutenant generals were appointed to that grade in the Army of the United States, even if detailed to a position that already carried the Regular Army grade; unlike the ex officio Regular Army grade, which was lost if an officer was reassigned, the Army of the United States grade was personal to each individual, making it easier to transfer officers without inadvertently demoting them.[23]

Although most air lieutenant generals belonged to the Regular Army Air Corps, anyone could be appointed lieutenant general in the Army of the United States, including reservists and civilians; James H. Doolittle was promoted to lieutenant general as an Air Corps Reserve officer and William S. Knudsen was commissioned lieutenant general directly from civilian life.[24]

1947–1960 (U.S. Air Force)[edit]

The National Security Act of 1947 transferred all personnel in the Army Air Forces, Air Corps, and General Headquarters Air Force to the newly created United States Air Force. Lieutenant generals in the new service typically headed divisions of the Air Staff in Washington, D.C.; the unified command in Alaska; the theater air forces in Europe or the Far East; or the Air Force's top-level strategic, tactical, air defense, materiel, or transportation commands. Many early three-star commands were subsequently upgraded to four stars, and their vice commanders were elevated to three stars along with the commanders of the larger numbered air forces.[25]

All three- and four-star ranks were made ex officio by the Officer Personnel Act of 1947, meaning that a lieutenant general had to be reconfirmed in that grade every time he changed jobs. During the Korean War the Far East Air Forces (FEAF) vice commander for operations, Major General Otto P. Weyland, was slated for a three-star job in the United States but Air Force Chief of Staff Hoyt S. Vandenberg wanted Weyland to be promoted to lieutenant general while still in the war zone, so Vandenberg created the new three-star position of deputy commanding general of FEAF just for Weyland. Once promoted, Weyland immediately returned stateside but remained technically assigned to FEAF in order to keep his new grade while waiting for the Senate to confirm him in his permanent three-star assignment as commanding general of Tactical Air Command.[26]

It was rare but not unheard of for a lieutenant general to be demoted by accepting a transfer to a lower ranking job. Air Force Inspector General Truman H. Landon and Fifth Air Force commanding generals Frank F. Everest and Glenn O. Barcus all reverted to major general for their next assignments but regained their third stars in subsequent postings.[27] Conversely, Major General Muir S. Fairchild skipped three-star rank entirely when he was appointed to the four-star office of vice chief of staff of the Air Force.[28]

Legislative history[edit]

The following list of Congressional legislation includes all acts of Congress pertaining to appointments to the grade of lieutenant general in the United States Air Force or United States Army Air Forces before 1960.[29]

Each entry lists an act of Congress, its citation in the United States Statutes at Large, and a summary of the act's relevance.

Legislation Citation Summary
Act of July 31, 1940  54 Stat. 781
Act of September 9, 1940  54 Stat. 875
  • Authorized appointment of Regular Army officers to temporary higher grades in the Army of the United States during a national emergency to be determined by the President.
Act of September 22, 1941  55 Stat. 728
  • Authorized appointment of Regular Army officers to temporary higher grades in the Army of the United States until six months after the World War II emergency.
Act of June 29, 1943  57 Stat. 149
  • Authorized officers retired for physical disability incurred while temporarily appointed to a higher grade to retire in that grade (Barton K. Yount, Barney M. Giles).
Act of July 26, 1947

[National Security Act of 1947]

 61 Stat. 503
  • Established U.S. Air Force.
  • Transferred to U.S. Air Force all personnel in Army Air Forces, Air Corps, and General Headquarters Air Force.
Act of August 7, 1947

[Officer Personnel Act of 1947]

 61 Stat. 886
  • Assigned ex officio rank of lieutenant general to general officers serving in positions designated by the President to carry that rank.
  • Assigned ex officio rank of lieutenant general to senior members of the Military and Naval Staff Committee of the United Nations.
  • Capped total positions with ex officio ranks above major general at 15 percent of the total number of active-duty general officers.
  • Capped total officers above grade of major general at 44, of whom not more than nine to be above grade of lieutenant general.
  • Capped total officers above grade of major general at 17 in the Air Corps and 27 not in the Air Corps.
  • Exempted from caps general officers serving as Chief of Staff to the President or specifically authorized by act of Congress to hold appointments to diplomatic or civil offices.
  • Authorized retirement in highest rank held on active duty.
Act of June 29, 1948

[Army and Air Force Vitalization and Retirement Equalization Act of 1948]

 62 Stat. 1085
  • Authorized promotion on the retired list of Regular Army and Regular Air Force officers to the highest temporary grades in which they served satisfactorily for at least six months between September 6, 1940, and June 30, 1946 (George H. Brett, Ira C. Eaker, Harold L. George).
Act of October 12, 1949

[Career Compensation Act of 1949]

 63 Stat. 806
  • Established pay grade O-8 for general, lieutenant general, and major general.
Act of May 5, 1954

[Officer Grade Limitation Act of 1954]

 68 Stat. 65
  • Capped total number of general officers as a function of total commissioned officer strength.
  • Capped total officers above grade of brigadier general at 50 percent of all general officers.
Act of May 20, 1958  72 Stat. 124
  • Established pay grade O-9 for lieutenant general.
Act of July 18, 1958

[Private Law 85-493]

 72 Stat. A67
Act of September 16, 1959

[Private Law 86-177]

 73 Stat. A77
  • Authorized appointment of Elwood R. Quesada to lieutenant general on the retired list the day after he ceases to be Administrator of the Federal Aviation Agency or the day before his death, whichever is earlier.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The list of lieutenant generals is taken from DuPre; the 1947 World Almanac, pp. 809–810; the Army Register; and the Air Force Register.
  2. ^ a b Dates of rank are taken from the Army Register or Air Force Register.
  3. ^ a b Dates vacated are taken from the Army Register or Air Force Register. An officer could vacate the active-duty rank of lieutenant general via death, retirement, resignation, promotion to a higher permanent grade, or reversion to a lower permanent grade upon relinquishing an office bearing the statutory rank of lieutenant general.
  4. ^ a b The number of years on active duty as lieutenant general is taken to be the number of days rounded to the nearest whole year and excluding any gaps in appointment.
  5. ^ a b Biographical notes include years of birth and death; dates of promotion to higher permanent grade; and other unusual career events such as death in office or resignation. Dates are taken from DuPre, the Army Register, or the Air Force Register.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Transferred from United States Army, 26 Sep 1947.
  7. ^ Commanding General, Hawaiian Department, with rank of lieutenant general, 17 Dec 1941–1 Jun 1943.
  8. ^ Commanding General, Panama Canal Department, with rank of lieutenant general, 19 Sep 1941–9 Nov 1942.
  9. ^ Retired as major general, 30 Apr 1945; recalled as lieutenant general, 1 May 1945–10 May 1946; promoted to lieutenant general on the retired list, 29 Jun 1948.
  10. ^ a b Retired as lieutenant general for disability in line of duty.
  11. ^ a b Retired as major general; promoted to lieutenant general on the retired list, 29 Jun 1948.
  12. ^ Retired as major general, 31 Aug 1947; promoted to lieutenant general on the retired list, 29 Jun 1948; promoted to general on the retired list, 26 Apr 1985.
  13. ^ Army Air Corps Reserve. Appointed brigadier general in the Regular Army, 14 Mar 1946; reverted to inactive reserve status as lieutenant general, 10 May 1946; resigned as Regular Army brigadier general, 22 Jul 1946; promoted to general on the retired list, 4 Apr 1985.
  14. ^ Retired as major general, 30 Dec 1946; promoted to lieutenant general on the retired list, 29 Jun 1948; recalled as lieutenant general, 1 Mar 1955–4 Nov 1955.
  15. ^ Recalled as major general, 3 Feb 1954–9 Mar 1954.
  16. ^ Retired as lieutenant general, 31 Oct 1951; resigned, 30 Oct 1958, to accept appointment as Administrator, Federal Aviation Agency; reappointed lieutenant general on the retired list, 21 Jan 1961.
  17. ^ Retired as lieutenant general, 27 Feb 1953; recalled as lieutenant general, 28 Feb 1953–30 Jun 1953 and 8 Nov 1953–31 Jul 1956.
  18. ^ Recess appointment as lieutenant general, 20 Dec 1951; nominated as lieutenant general, 10 Jan 1952, to date from recess appointment; reverted to major general, 30 May 1952; reappointed lieutenant general, 1 May 1953.
  19. ^ Reverted to major general, 1 Jun 1953; reappointed lieutenant general, 26 Jul 1954–1 Aug 1960.
  20. ^ Reverted to major general, 20 Jun 1956–1 Jun 1959; reappointed lieutenant general, with date of rank 12 May 1957.
  21. ^ Retired as captain, 30 Apr 1937; promoted to major general on the retired list, 29 Jun 1943; promoted to lieutenant general on the retired list, 11 Jul 1958, by Private Law 85-493.
  22. ^ Army Register; Acts of July 31, 1940, and September 9, 1940.
  23. ^ Army Register; "Krueger Is In Line For New Command; President Prepares to Give Third Army Chief New Task by Confirming His Rank", The New York Times, p. 5, February 9, 1943 ; "63 Army Officers Move Up In Rank; 3 Named Lieutenant General, Eight Major General and 52 Brigadier General", The New York Times, p. 11, May 5, 1943 .
  24. ^ DuPre, p. 59; "Knudsen the Only Civilian To Enter Army at His Rank", The New York Times, p. 9, January 17, 1942 .
  25. ^ 2011 Air Force Almanac; Air Force Register.
  26. ^ Y'Blood, pp. 425, 442, 444–445, 477.
  27. ^ Air Force Register.
  28. ^ Puryear, p. 129.
  29. ^ Legislative history compiled from: Official Army Register; Air Force Register; Military Laws of the United States, 1939; and The Army Almanac.

Bibliography[edit]

Biographical registers[edit]

  • Department of the Army (1948 A–Q, 1948 R–end), Official Army and Air Force Register, Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  • Department of the Air Force (1951–1968), Air Force Register, Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office 
  • DuPre, Flint O. (1965), U.S. Air Force Biographical Dictionary, New York City, New York: Franklin Watts, Inc. 
  • Young, Gordon R. (1959), The Army Almanac, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: The Stackpole Company 

Other publications[edit]

  • Mylander, Maureen (1974), The Generals: Making It, Military Style, New York City, New York: The Dial Press 
  • Office of the Judge Advocate General of the Army (1940), Military Laws of the United States, 1939, Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office 
  • Puryear, Edgar F., Jr. (1981), Stars in Flight: A Study in Air Force Character and Leadership, Novato, California: Presidio Press