Louis L. Wilson Jr.
General Louis L. Wilson Jr. is commander in chief of the Pacific Air Forces, headquartered at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii.
General Wilson was born in Huntington, W.Va., in 1919. He graduated from high school in Hurricane, W.Va., in 1937, after which he attended Greenbriar Military School in Lewisburg, W.Va. After a year’s service with the 11th Infantry, U.S. Army, he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 1939, and graduated in January 1943 with a commission as a second lieutenant. He completed flying school while at the academy.
His first assignment was with a P-47 outfit, the 358th Fighter Group, deployed to England in October 1943 for bomber escort duty with the Eighth Air Force. Just before D-Day, the group was used for interdiction missions in preparation for the invasion of Normandy. Subsequently, the group was transferred to the Ninth Air Force and flew close air support missions for General Patton’s drive through France. During this period, the president cited his group three times for its performance. By the time the war had ended, General Wilson had flown 114 combat missions and was commander of the 367th Fighter Squadron.
In January 1946, he was assigned to the Second Air Force and later the Fifteenth Air Force at Colorado Springs, Colorado. In March 1946, the Second Air Force was inactivated, and the Fifteenth Air Force became the first numbered Air Force of the Strategic Air Command.
In July 1948, he began 14 years of duty with various Eighth Air Force units of SAC. From 1948 to 1953, he served with the 509th Bombardment Wing at Walker Air Force Base, N.M., and helped organize the 6th Bombardment Wing at Walker. During this period, he was a B-29 and a B-36 squadron commander.
In June 1953, General Wilson was assigned to Eighth Air Force Headquarters, Fort Worth, Texas, as deputy director of personnel. In September 1955, he was transferred to the 380th Bombardment Wing at Plattsburgh Air Force Base, N.Y., as director of operations. He returned in July 1957 to Eighth Air Force headquarters at Westover Air Force Base, Mass., where he served first as director of plans and later as inspector general. In October 1960, he became commander of the 4081st Strategic Wing at Ernest Harmon Air Base, Newfoundland. Two years later, he was transferred to Strategic Air Command headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., as chief of the plans division.
In August 1964, he was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., where he served as deputy director of operational requirements and development plans in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Research and Development. During this four-year tour of duty, he worked on conceptual plans for the B-1, the F-15, the A-10, and advanced versions of intercontinental ballistic missiles.
In August 1968, General Wilson became vice commander of the Space and Missile Systems Organization at Los Angeles Air Force Station, Calif. In July 1970, he became commander of the Space and Missile Test Center, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., where he was responsible for testing ICBMs and launching various space systems.
General Wilson was appointed the U.S. Air Force inspector general in September 1971. He assumed duties as vice commander in chief of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, with headquarters at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, in September 1973.
In July 1974, General Wilson was appointed commander in chief of the Pacific Air Forces, with headquarters at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii.
His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 18 oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Citation Emblem with two oak leaf clusters, and French Croix de Guerre. He is a command pilot and wears the Master Missileman Badge.
He was promoted to the grade of general effective July 1, 1974, with date of rank July 1, 1974.
(Current as of Aug. 15, 1974)