Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: Charles

Last Name: Cabell

Birthplace: Dallas, TX, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Middle Name: Pearre

Date of Birth: 11 October 1903

Date of Death: 25 May 1971

Rank: General

Years Served: 1925-1962
Charles Pearre Cabell

Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1925

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Charles Pearre Cabell
General, U.S. Air Force

Charles Pearre Cabell was born on 11 October 1903, in Dallas, TX, the son of Ben E. and Sadie E. Pearre Cabell and attended Oak Cliff High School. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1925 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of Field Artillery. He served with the 12th Field Artillery until 1931.

He was assigned to flight school in 1931 and, after completing flight training, he was transferred to the U.S. Army Air Corps. In late 1931, he was transferred to the Panama Canal Zone as Adjutant of the 7th Observation Squadron. Eventually, he commanded the 44th Observation; 24th Pursuit; and 74th Pursuit Squadrons in this area. During this period, he was promoted to Captain.

In 1934, Cabell was transferred to Randolph Field, TX, as a flight instructor and, beginning in 1937, he served as Post Adjutant. He was sent to the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field, AL, in 1938 and graduated in 1939. He was then detailed to the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, KS, and graduated in 1940. During this time he was promoted to Major.

During 1940, he was assigned to the Photographic Unit at Wright Field, OH; he was also deployed as an observer with the Royal Air Force. In April 1941, he was assigned to the Office of the Chief of the Air Corps as Chief of the Photographic Unit and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.

In February 1942, he was assigned as Assistant Executive for Technical Planning and Coordination in the Office of the Chief of the Air Corps, and promoted to Colonel. During the summer of 1943, he attended the first course of the Army and Navy Staff College.

Cabell was transferred to the Eighth Air Force in late 1943 and assumed Command of the 45th Combat Bombardment Wing. In April 1944, he became Director of Plans for the U.S. Strategic Air Force in Europe. Later that year, after a promotion to Brigadier General, he became Director of Operations and Intelligence for the Mediterranean Air Forces.

In May 1945, he was assigned to Air Force Headquarters as Chief of the Strategy and Policy Division. In December 1945, he was detailed to the United Nations Military Staff Committee where he held roles as Deputy and Chief U.S. Air Force Delegate to the Committee.

Cabell was promoted to Major General in August 1947 and returned to Air Force Headquarters where he served in Planning and Intelligence roles and became Director of Air Force Intelligence in May 1948. In 1949, Cabell set up Project Grudge to "make a study reviewing the UFO situation for AF HQ." However, Grudge quickly became all but moribund, while simultaneously reporting that all UFO cases were being closely investigated. When Cabell learned of this, he ordered Project Grudge dissolved and ordered that the "open minded" Project Blue Book be created.

In November 1951, he was named Director of the Joint Staff for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and was promoted to Lieutenant General. In 1952, he was an enthusiastic promoter of the U-2 spy plane, along with Allen Welsh Dulles and John Foster Dulles.

CIA Service

On 23 April 1953, while still an active Air Force general officer, he was appointed Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency serving under Allen Welsh Dulles. In 1956, along with the CIA's Richard Bissell, he flew to Bonn, Germany, to brief West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer on the U-2 spy plane program. Adenauer allowed U-2 planes, pilots, and support teams to be based at Wiesbaden. He was promoted to General in 1958.

President Kennedy forced Cabell to resign on 31 January 1962, following the failure of the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Cabell's brother, Earle Cabell, was Mayor of Dallas when Kennedy visited that city and was assassinated on 22 November 1963.

The Washington Post revealed in 1973 that New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison was preparing, as late as March 1971, to accuse Charles Cabell of conspiracy in the Kennedy assassination, although he had no evidence.

Medals and Awards

Distinguished Service Medal (2 Awards)

Legion of Merit

Distinguished Flying Cross

Bronze Star

Air Medal (2 Awards)

American Defense Service Medal

American Campaign Medal

European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal

World War II Victory Medal

National Defense Service Medal

Foreign Awards

Order of the British Empire (Honorary Commander)

National Order of the Legion of Honor, Degree of Chevalier (France)

Croix de guerre with Palm (France)

Commander, Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus (Italy)


General Cabell left an autobiography "A Man of Intelligence: Memoirs of War, Peace and the CIA" published in 1997.


He was married to Jacklyn DeHymel in 1934; they had two sons, Charles P. Cabell, Jr. and Benjamin Cabell IV; and one daughter, Catharine C. Bennett. His oldest son Charles was also an Air Force officer and West Point graduate (Class of 1958), achieving the rank of Brigadier General.

Charles Pearre Cabell was a tenth-generation descendant of Pocahontas and a third-cousin of Admiral Richard H. Jackson, USN.

Charles' brother, Earle, the former Mayor of Dallas, TX, died in 1975.

Death and Burial

General Charles Pearre Cabell died on 25 May 1971. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

His wife, Jacklyn, died on 4 November 1995 and is buried next to her husband.

Honoree ID: 530   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image