THE 456th FIGHTER INTERCEPTOR SQUADRON

THE PROTECTORS OF  S. A. C.

 

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General Curtis E. LeMay

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General Curtis E. LeMay

Curtis E. LeMay is one of the icons of American military history who rivals Mitchell in his importance and controversial career. From middling origins, LeMay did not attend West Point, earning his commission through the Reserve Officer Training Corps in 1928. Over the next decade he became widely known as one of the best navigators and pilots in the Air Corps. In 1937 he located the battleship Utah in exercises off California and "bombed" it with water bombs, despite being given the wrong coordinates by Navy personnel; the following year he navigated B17s nearly 800 miles over the Atlantic Ocean to intercept the Italian liner Rex to illustrate the ability of airpower to defend the American coasts; and in 1938 he led flights of B17s to South America to display airpower's range and its role in hemisphere defense. War brought rapid promotion and increased responsibility. LeMay began as a group commander in the Eighth Air Force, but within 18 months had gone from lieutenant colonel to major general and an air division commander. He had earned a reputation as an unusually innovative tactician and problem solver, so when Hap Arnold had difficulty bringing the new B29 into combat service, he chose LeMay to spur the program and then take over B29 operations in China. His ability led Arnold to name him commander of the B29s in the Marianas where the main air effort against Japan was centered. Always a tactical innovator, LeMay took the risky and controversial step of abandoning the long held American doctrine of high altitude, daylight, precision bombing, and instead stripped his B29s of guns, loaded them with incendiaries, and sent them against Japanese cities at night and at low level. The new strategy was remarkably successful; Japan was devastated, and the dropping of the atomic bombs in August 1945 brought the Pacific war to an end without an invasion of the Japanese home islands and the hundreds of thousands of casualties that would have entailed.

Returning to the States, LeMay served briefly as the head of the AAF research and development effort, then was sent to Germany as commander of the air forces in Europe arrayed against the Soviets. In this position he was responsible for getting the Berlin airlift started in mid1948 after the Soviets had instituted a ground blockade of the city. This crisis precipitated a major reshuffling in Washington. A war with the Soviets appeared increasingly possible, and the Strategic Air Command, which would bear the brunt of such a war, was seen as deficient. As a result, Hoyt Vandenberg relieved George Kenney from command at SAC and named LeMay his successor. The building of SAC into an effective and efficient war fighting arm was LeMay's greatest accomplishment. The story of how he demonstrated his command's poor state of readiness by a "bombing raid" on Dayton, Ohio, in which not a single SAC aircraft carried out the mission as planned, is well known. He then set about the difficult but essential task of retraining SAC. Using the authority delegated him by Vandenberg, LeMay built new bases, facilities, and training programs; began a "spot promotion" system for rewarding his best aircrews; and, through his legendary use of iron discipline, soon transformed his command into one of the most effective military units in the world.

In 1957 LeMay was named vice-chief of staff, and when Thomas White retired in 1961, he was elevated to the position of chief. LeMay was one of the coldest of America's cold warriors, and partly for this reason his tenure as chief was neither successful nor happy. Under the new management policies of Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and the "flexible response" military strategy of Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen Maxwell D. Taylor, LeMay found himself at constant odds. In his four years as chief, LeMay argued strenuously for new air weapons like the Skybolt missile and B70 bomber, and against the swingwing "fighter" plane, the General Dynamics TFX (later named the F111). He lost all these battles. Moreover, LeMay had strong feelings regarding American involvement in Vietnam, arguing against the gradual response advocated by the administration. Once again he was ignored. When he retired in 1965, LeMay was widely regarded, and probably rightly so, as a great commander of SAC but as a poor chief. His abortive political "career" as George Wallace's running mate in the 1968 presidential election only further tarnished the reputation he had built as a war commander and leader of SAC.

LeMay's only biographer to date is Thomas M. Coffey, Iron Eagle: The Turbulent Life of General Curtis LeMay (New York: Crown Publishers, 1986). Like Coffey's work on Arnold discussed above, this book is based too much on interviews, newspaper reports, and published memoirs. The result is an entertaining account of a great man's life and career, but with little detail and serious analysis. Coffey is at his best in describing LeMay's personality: he was unsophisticated, taciturn, dedicated, tactless to the point of rudeness, more ambitious than he cared to admit, extremely hard working, and he possessed unquestioned physical courage. In addition, Coffey shows that LeMay was also a good family man and sincerely concerned (sensitive would be too strong a term) about the welfare of his troops-although the author implies this was more because happy subordinates were productive ones rather than through any feeling of innate humanitarianism.

This book fails, however, in revealing the details surrounding the events in which LeMay participated. The decision to reverse three decades of American airpower doctrine with incendiary attacks against Japanese cities raises profound questions of morality and legality. Coffey simply restates LeMay's rationale that all war is awful, and it was better to kill the Japanese than it was to kill Americans. There is something to be said for that point of view, but it is entirely too facile. Are there no limits whatever in warfare? Coffey would seem to imply so. More serious, there is no discussion of LeMay's role in the military strategy-or non-strategy-of the Vietnam War. Unquestionably, the classification of sources was a problem here, but other than arguing that LeMay never said he wanted to "bomb Vietnam back into the stone age," Coffey does not take on this crucial but thorny subject. LeMay later stated vehemently that he disagreed with administration policy during the war, but we are given no details on an alternative. How precisely would LeMay have fought the war? What targets did he intend to strike with airpower, and what effect did he expect those strikes to have? Did he think the Vietcong insur gency in the south would collapse if the leaders in the north were coerced into withdrawing their support? These are fundamental questions regarding the role of airpower in a "minor" war that are of great importance but which are not explored.

Similarly, LeMay's advocated doctrine is identified as the epitome of strategic bombing, but once again the implications of such a statement are not examined. We are given no insights into LeMay's theories of warfare and the role of airpower in modern war other than his belief that strategic bombing, and lots of it, would be decisive. Was LeMay's thinking truly that simplistic? Perhaps so, because it is unquestionably the case that tactical airpower dangerously atrophied during LeMay's tenure and that the Air Force as a whole became seriously unbalanced. One could argue that because of this overemphasis on SAC, the Air Force was woefully unprepared for Vietnam. Airpower was consequently so discredited that one could ask if LeMay actually hurt the cause of American airpower.

One of the more interesting and potentially significant issues that Coffey touches upon is LeMay's strained relations with both Defense Secretary McNamara and Air Force Secretary Eugene Zuckert. Clearly, LeMay believed that his prerogatives as chief and as military advisor were being undermined by these men. In fact, the long tenure of McNamara at Defense serves as a watershed in American military history. Prior to that time, military leaders had some latitude in discussing military affairs with Congress and, to some extent, the public. McNamara saw such a tradition as chaotic and moved to change it by placing constraints on what the chiefs could say and to whom. This is an important story, and although Coffey introduces it, he does not seem to realize its implications. Overall, Coffey gives us a useful read, but a more serious study of one of America's most important airmen is needed.

LeMay's autobiography, written with the help of novelist MacKinlay Kantor, is titled Mission with LeMay: My Story (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1965). This is an engaging and well written story. LeMay's abrupt, no-nonsense personality comes through clearly, and the book also provides an excellent insight into air leadership. LeMay was intelligent and physically courageous-two qualities generally cited as crucial for successful leadership-but the real reason for his sustained, outstanding performance was his insistence on following through on a job until its completion. His emphasis on rigorous training was relentless, and it was this dogged and selfless determination to practice and work hard that were the real reasons for his success. There is certainly a lesson here: great commanders are often made and not born.

by Colonel Phillip S. Meilinger, USAF

 

 

Curtis Emerson LeMay

 

November 16, 1906–October 1, 1990

 

General Curtis E. LaMay

Place of birth Columbus, Ohio
Allegiance USAF
Years of service 1928–1965
Rank General
Commands Strategic Air Command
USAF Chief of Staff
Battles/wars World War II-Pacific Theatre
Awards Distinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star
Distinguished Flying Cross
Legion of Honor
Other work Candidate for U.S. Vice President

Curtis Emerson LeMay (November 15, 1906–October 1, 1990) was a general in the United States Air Force and the vice presidential running mate of independent candidate George C. Wallace in 1968.

He is credited with designing and implementing an effective systematic strategic bombing campaign in the Pacific Theatre of World War II. After the war, he headed the Berlin airlift, then reorganized the Strategic Air Command into an effective means of conducting nuclear war.

Critics have characterized him as a belligerent warmonger (even nicknaming him "Bombs Away LeMay") whose aggressiveness threatened to inflame tense Cold War situations (such as the Cuban Missile Crisis) into open war between the United States and the Soviet Union. LeMay is perhaps most famous for suggesting in a 1965 book that the United States should escalate its bombing of North Vietnam: "My solution to the problem would be to tell them frankly that they’ve got to draw in their horns and stop their aggression, or we’re going to bomb them back into the Stone Age."

 

 

Biography

 

Early Life And Career

 

Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, he studied civil engineering at The Ohio State University. While in college he was a member of the National Society of Pershing Rifles and the Professional Engineering Fraternity Theta Tau. He joined the Air Corps in 1928 and became an officer through the ROTC. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1930. He married Helen E. Maitland (died 1994) on the 9th of June 1934 with whom he had one child—Patricia Jane LeMay Lodge.

He transferred to bomber aircraft in 1937 and soon demonstrated his abilities. When his crews were not flying missions they were being subjected to his relentless training as he believed that training was the key to saving their lives. The men called him "Iron Ass" because he demanded so much but he was immensely respected.

One apocryphal story has it that he approached a fully-fueled bomber with his ever-present cigar stuck firmly between his lips. When asked by a guard to put it out as it might ignite the fuel, LeMay growled, "It wouldn't dare." The line is actually a scene from the 1955 film Strategic Air Command. Actor Frank Lovejoy, playing General Ennis Hawkes (very clearly modeled on LeMay) is smoking around a new B-36 bomber and a guard expresses concern that there might be a fire. "Dutch" Holland (played by Jimmy Stewart) simply smiles and says, "It wouldn't dare."

LeMay's military career was marked by successive promotions beginning with commissioning as a second lieutenant in October 1929. Subsequent promotions were: First Lieutenant: ?; Captain: January 1940; Major: March 1941; Lieutenant Colonel: January 1942; Colonel: 1943; Brigadier General: September 1943; Major General: March 1944; Lieutenant General: January 1948; General: 1951.

Upon receiving his fourth star at age 44, LeMay became the youngest full general in American history since Ulysses S. Grant.

 

World War II

 

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LeMay became known for his massive incendiary attacks against Japanese cities during the war using hundreds of planes flying at low altitudes.

At the entry of the USA to World War II, LeMay was a lieutenant colonel and commander of the 305th Bomb Group. He took that B-17 Flying Fortress unit to England in October 1942, as part of the Eighth Air Force and led it in combat until May 1943, notably helping to develop the combat box formation. He led the 4th Bombardment Wing, and was its first commander when it was reorganized into the 3rd Bomb Division in September, 1943. He often demonstrated his courage by personally leading dangerous missions, including the Regensburg section of the Schweinfurt-Regensburg mission of August 17, 1943. In that mission he led 146 B-17s beyond the range of escorting fighters to Regensburg, Germany, and after bombing, continued on to bases in North Africa, losing 24 bombers in the process.

The heavy losses in veteran crews on this and subsequent deep penetration missions in the autumn of 1943 led the Eighth Air Force to limit missions to targets within escort range until the deployment in the European theater of the P-51 Mustang fighter in January, 1944.

In August 1944, LeMay transferred to the China-Burma-India Theater and directed first the XX Bomber Command in China and then the XXI Bomber Command in the Pacific. LeMay was later placed in charge of all strategic air operations against the Japanese home islands.

LeMay soon concluded that the techniques and tactics developed for use in Europe against the Luftwaffe were unsuited to the conditions of the Pacific theatre of operations. His bombers flying from China were dropping their bombs near their targets only 5% of the time. Losses of aircraft and crews were unsustainably high due to increasingly competent Japanese daylight air defenses including high-altitude interceptor aircraft and flak cannon. He became convinced that high-altitude, precision bombing would be ineffective, given the usual cloudy weather over Japan. As Japanese air defenses made medium and low-level daytime bombing impossible, LeMay switched to low-altitude, nighttime incendiary attacks on Japanese targets. At the time Japanese cities were largely constructed of combustible materials such as wood and paper. Precision high-altitude daylight bombing was ordered to proceed only when weather permitted.

LeMay commanded subsequent B-29 combat operations against Japan, including the massive incendiary attacks on sixty-four Japanese cities. This included the firebombing of Tokyo on March 9–March 10, 1945. For this first attack, LeMay ordered the defensive guns removed from 325 B-29s, loaded each plane with Model E-46 incendiary clusters, magnesium bombs, white phosporus bombs and napalm, and ordered the bombers to fly in streams at 5,000–9,000 feet over Tokyo.

The first pathfinder planes arrived over Tokyo just after midnight on March 10. Following British bombing practice, they marked the target area with a flaming 'X.' In a three-hour period, the main bombing force dropped 1,665 tons of incendiary bombs, killing more than 100,000 civilians, destroying 250,000 buildings and incinerating 16 square miles of the city. Aircrews at the tail end of the bomber stream reported that the stench of burned human flesh permeated the aircraft over the target.

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A "LeMay Bombing Leaflet" from the war, which warned Japanese civilians that "Unfortunately, bombs have no eyes. So, in accordance with America's humanitarian policies, the American Air Force, which does not wish to injure innocent people, now gives you warning to evacuate the cities named and save your lives."

The New York Times reported at the time, "Maj. Gen. Curtis E. LeMay, commander of the B-29s of the entire Marianas area, declared that if the war is shortened by a single day, the attack will have served its purpose."

Precise figures are not available, but the firebombing and atomic bombing campaign against Japan, directed by LeMay between March 1945 and the Japanese surrender in August 1945, may have killed more than one million Japanese civilians. Official estimates from the United States Strategic Bombing Survey put the figures at 330,000 people killed, 476,000 injured, 8.5 million people made homeless and 2.5 million buildings destroyed. Nearly half the built-up areas of sixty-four cities were destroyed, including much of Japan's war industry.

LeMay referred to his nighttime incendiary attacks as "fire jobs." The Japanese nicknamed him "Demon LeMay". In violation of the rules of war shot-down B-29 aircrews were frequently tortured and executed when captured by both Japanese civilians and military. Also, the remaining Allied prisoners of war in Japan who had survived imprisonment to that time were frequently subjected to additional reprisals and torture after an air raid. LeMay was quite aware of both the brutality of his actions and the Japanese opinion of him — he once remarked that had the U.S. lost the war, he fully expected to be tried for war crimes, especially in view of Japanese executions of uniformed American flight crews during the 1942 Doolittle raid. However, he argued that it was his duty to carry out the attacks in order to end the war as quickly as possible, sparing further loss of life.

Presidents Roosevelt and Truman justified these tactics by referring to an estimate that one million American troops would be killed if Japan had to be invaded. Additionally, the Japanese had intentionally decentralized 90% of their war-related into small subcontractor workshops in civilian districts, making remaining Japanese war industry largely immune to conventional precision bombing with high-explosives.

As the fire bombing campaign took effect, Japanese war planners were forced to expend significant resources to relocate vital war industries to remote caves and mountain bunkers, further reducing production of war materiel.

In addition, LeMay oversaw Operation Starvation, an aerial mining operation against Japanese waterways and ports which disrupted the Japanese shipping and food distribution logistics. Aerial mining supplemented a tight Allied submarine blockade of the home islands, drastically reducing Japan's ability to supply its overseas forces and continue the war effort.

 

The Cold War

 

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After World War II, LeMay was briefly transferred to The Pentagon as Deputy Chief of Air Staff for Research & Development. In 1947, he returned to Europe as commander of USAF Europe, heading operations for the Berlin Airlift in 1948 in the face of a blockade by the Soviet Union and its satellite states that threatened to starve the civilian population of Berlin. Under LeMay's direction, C-54 cargo planes that could each carry 10 tons of cargo began supplying the city on July 1. By the fall, the airlift was bringing in an average of 5,000 tons of supplies a day. The airlift continued for 11 months — 213,000 flights that brought in 1.7 million tons of food and fuel to Berlin. Faced with the failure of their blockade, the Soviet Union relented and re-opened land corridors to the West.

In 1949, he returned to the U.S. to head the Strategic Air Command, replacing Gen. George Kenney. When he took over SAC, it consisted of little more than a few understaffed B-29 groups left over from World War II. Less than half of the available aircraft were operational, and the crews were under-trained. When he ordered a mock bombing exercise on Dayton, Ohio, most bombers missed their targets by one mile or more.

LeMay headed SAC until 1957, overseeing its transformation into a modern, efficient, all-jet force. He was instrumental in the U.S. Air Force's acquisition of a large fleet of new strategic bombers, establishment of a vast aerial refueling system, the formation of many new units and bases, development of a strategic ballistic missile force, and establishment of a strict command and control system with an unprecedented readiness capability. He insisted on rigorous training and very high standards of performance for his aircrews, supposedly saying, "I have neither the time nor the inclination to differentiate between the incompetent and the merely unfortunate."

LeMay was appointed Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force in July 1957, serving until 1961 when he was made the fifth Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force on the retirement of Thomas White. His belief in the efficacy of strategic air campaigns over tactical strikes and ground support operations became Air Force policy during his tenure as Chief of Staff.

As Chief of Staff, LeMay clashed repeatedly with Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, Air Force Secretary Eugene Zuckert and Joint Chiefs Chairman General Maxwell Taylor. At the time, budget constraints and successive nuclear war fighting strategies had left the armed forces in a state of flux. Each of the armed forces had gradually jettisoned realistic appraisals of future conflicts in favor of developing its own separate nuclear and non-nuclear capabilities. At the height of this struggle, the U.S. Army had even reorganized its combat divisions to fight land wars on irradiated nuclear battlefields, developing short-range atomic cannon and mortars in order to win appropriations. The U.S. Navy in turn proposed delivering strategic nuclear weapons from supercarriers intended to sail into range of the Soviet Air Defense Forces. Of all these various schemes, only LeMay's command structure of the SAC survived complete reorganization in the changing reality of postwar conflicts.

Though LeMay lost significant appropriation battles (for Skybolt ALBM, and the B-52 replacement, the XB-70), he was largely successful at preserving Air Force budgets. He expanded the service into satellite technology and pushed for the development of the latest electronic warfare techniques. By contrast, the U.S. Army and Navy frequently suffered budgetary cutbacks and program cancellations by Congress and Secretary McNamara.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, LeMay clashed again with President John F. Kennedy and Defense Secretary McNamara, arguing that he should be allowed to bomb nuclear sites in Cuba, even though he himself estimated that his planes could take out only about 90 percent of these sites (post-crisis analysis hypothesized that such attacks would have missed significantly more missiles than that). He opposed the naval blockade, and after the end of the crisis, suggested that Cuba be invaded anyway, even after the Russians agreed to withdraw.

LeMay's dislike for tactical aircraft and training backfired in the low-intensity conflict of Vietnam, where existing Air Force interceptor aircraft and standard attack profiles proved incapable of carrying out sustained tactical bombing campaigns in the face of hostile North Vietnamese anti-aircraft defenses. Aircraft losses on tactical attack missions soared, and Air Force commanders soon realized that their large, missile-armed aircraft were exceedingly vulnerable not only to anti-aircraft shells and missiles, but also to cannon-armed, maneuverable Soviet fighter jets.

In the end, LeMay's call for a sustained strategic bombing campaign against North Vietnamese cities, harbors, ports, shipping, and other strategic targets did not take place. The limited interdictive bombing of fluid enemy supply corridors in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia failed to either reach a significant quantity of enemy war supplies or destroy enemy morale. Even if full-scale strategic bombing had been approved, political limitations imposed by President Johnson on bombing Soviet and Chinese ships and cargo at the point of importation prevented any realistic evaluation of the effectiveness of a strategic air campaign in Vietnam. At the very end of the war, the limited Operation Linebacker II air campaign did succeed in forcing the North Vietnamese government to return to treaty negotiations.

 

Post-Military

 

Due to his unrelenting opposition to the Johnson administration's Vietnam policy and what was widely perceived as his hostility to Secretary McNamara, LeMay was essentially forced into retirement in February 1965, and seemed headed for a political career. His highest political accomplishment was his selection as the Vice Presidential candidate on segregationist George Wallace's 1968 American Independent Party ticket. (By coincidence, Wallace had served as a sergeant in a unit commanded by LeMay during World War II.) When Wallace announced his selection in October 1968, LeMay opined that he, unlike many Americans, clearly did not fear using nuclear weapons. His saber-rattling did not help the Wallace campaign.

He was honored by several countries, receiving the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, the Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the French Legion of Honor and the Silver Star. On December 7, 1964 the Japanese government in an ironic gesture conferred on him the First Order of Merit with the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun. He was elected to the Alfalfa Club in 1957. He served as a general officer for twenty-one years.

He died on October 1, 1990, and is buried in the United States Air Force Academy Cemetery at Colorado Springs, Colorado.

 

LeMay And UFOs

 

The April 25, 1988 issue of The New Yorker carried an interview of former Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, who said he repeatedly asked his friend Gen. LeMay if there was any truth to the rumors that UFO evidence was stored in a secret room at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, and if he (Goldwater) might have access to the room. According to Goldwater, an angry LeMay gave him "holy hell" and said, "Not only can't you get into it but don't you ever mention it to me again."

 

LeMay And Sports Car Racing

 

General LeMay was also a sports car owner and enthusiast; as the "SAC era" began to wind down, LeMay loaned out facilities of SAC bases for use by the Sports Car Club of America, as the era of early street races began to die out. He was awarded the Woolf Barnato Award, SCCA's highest award for contributions to the Club, in 1954. In November 2006, it was announced that General LeMay would be one of the 2007 inductions into the SCCA Hall of Fame. source

 

The Spreading Of Judo

 

Judo's resurgence after the War was due primarily to two individuals: Kyuzo Mifune and Curtis LeMay. The pre-war death of Jigoro Kano (the founder of judo), wartime demands, the Japanese surrender, postwar occupation and the martial arts ban all contributed to a time of uncertainty for judo. As assistant to General MacArthur during the American occupation of Japan, LeMay made practicing judo a routine part of Air Force tours of duty in Japan, and many Americans brought home stories of this tiny old man (Mifune), throwing healthy young men without apparent effort. LeMay became an enthusiastic promoter of judo training, and provided so much political support for the judo in the early years after the war, he was awarded the unique rank of Shihan. In addition, he promoted judo in the armed forces of the United States.

 

Awards And Decorations

 

LeMay received recognition for his work from thirteen countries, receiving twenty-two medals and decorations.

  

Command pilot

 

                          

 Distinguished Service Cross

 

    Distinguished Service Medal plus 2 oak leaf clusters 

    Silver Star

    Distinguished Flying Cross plus 2 oak leaf clusters

    Air Medal plus 3 oak leaf clusters

    Presidential Unit Citation plus oak leaf cluster

    American Defense Service Medal

    American Campaign Medal

    European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal plus three bronze campaign stars

   Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal

   World War II Victory Medal

  Occupation Ribbon with Airlift Device

   Medal for Humane Action

   National Defense Service Medal

   Air Force Longevity Service Award, 6 oak leaf clusters

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The First Class of the Order of the Rising Sun (Presented Dec. 7 1964)

  Distinguished Flying Cross (United Kingdom)

  Croix de Guerre with Palm (France)

  Croix de Guerre, with Palm (Belgium)

  • Argentina – Order of Aeronautical Merit — Grades of Grand Official and Grand Cross
  • Brazil – Order of the Southern Cross and Order of Aeronautical Merit
  • Chile – Order of Merit and Medalla Militar de Primera Clase
  • Ecuador – Order of Aeronautical Merit (Knight Commander)
  • Japan – The First Class of the Order of the Rising Sun (Presented Dec. 7 1964) for his contribution to the reestablishment of the Air Force and Air Defence. The award was met with significant domestic protest due to his role in WWII. Hirohito, who led Japan when it waged war against the US, did not personally present this award.
  • Morocco – Oissam Alaouite
  • Sweden – Commander of the Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the Sword
  • Uruguay – Aviador Militar Honoris Causa (Piloto Commandante)
  • U.S.S.R – Order of Patriotic War — 1st Degree


Destined to retire as the Air Force Chief of Staff more than 35 years later, Lt. Curtis E. Lemay appeared on the aviation scene in 1929 -- a young airpower enthusiast, fresh from pilot training, proudly wearing his wings and his Sam Browne belt.

General Curtis Emerson LeMay died on 1 October 1990

and is berried in Greenlawn Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio.

 

Last Updated

02/10/2014

 

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