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First Name: John

Last Name: Cannon

Birthplace: Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Middle Name: Kenneth

Date of Birth: 02 March 1892

Date of Death: 12 January 1955

Rank: General

Years Served: 1917-1954
John Kenneth Cannon

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


John Kenneth Cannon
General, U.S. Air Force

John Kenneth Cannon was born on 2 March 1892 in Salt Lake City, Utah Territory. He graduated from Utah Agricultural College (now Utah State University) in 1914 and was appointed a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Infantry Reserve on 27 November 1917.

He served with the Infantry at Camp Fremont, CA; Camp Mills, NY; the Presidio of San Francisco, CA; and Camp Furlong, NM. In 1921-22 he underwent pilot training at Kelly Field, TX. He completed Pursuit Pilot training at Ellington Field, TX, on 23 April 1922, where one of his seven classmates was Lieutenant Claire Lee Chennault. In the Air Service he became Director of Flying at Kelly in the fall of 1922.

Cannon went to Hawaii in January 1925, assigned to the 6th Pursuit Squadron at Luke Field on Ford Island, where he became Operations Officer of the 5th Composite Group. Two years later, he was Commanding Officer of the 94th Pursuit Squadron at Selfridge Field, MI. He returned to Kelly in 1929 as Director of Pursuit Training, with promotion to Captain, and became Director of Training at Randolph Field, TX, in August 1931. He completed the courses at the Air Corps Tactical School and the Command and General Staff School, with a promotion to Major in March 1935 and assignment to March Field, CA.

In June 1938, Cannon went to Buenos Aires, Argentina for three years as chief of the U.S. Military Mission. While there, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in March 1940 and to Colonel in January 1941. That October, he went to Mitchel Field, New York as Chief of Staff of the 1st Air Force, taking Command of the 1st Interceptor Command. He was promoted to Brigadier General in February 1942.

During Operation Torch in November 1942, Cannon was the Commanding General of the XII Air Support Command for the Western Task Force during the invasion of French Morocco. He moved to Algeria as Commanding General of the XII Bomber Command. Through March and April 1943, General Cannon organized and Commanded the Northwest African Training Command in the Northwest African Air Forces of the Mediterranean Air Command (MAC), the official Allied air force command organization in the Mediterranean Theater. In May 1943, Cannon became Deputy Commanding General of the Northwest African Tactical Air Force under Commander Air Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham for the Sicilian campaign and the invasion of Italy. He was promoted to Major General in June and after MAC was disbanded in December, he became Commanding General of both the Twelfth Air Force and the Mediterranean Allied Tactical Air Force in the newly organized Mediterranean Allied Air Forces. Major General Cannon was responsible for all air operations during the invasion of southern France in August 1944 (Operation Dragoon). In March 1945, he was promoted to Lieutenant General and named Air Commander-in-Chief of all Allied Air Forces in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. In May 1945, Lieutenant General John K. Cannon became Commanding General of U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE).

Cannon returned to the U.S. in April 1946 as Commanding General of Air Training Command at Barksdale Field, LA. In October 1948, he returned to Europe as Commanding General of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and in March 1950 was designated Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Air Forces in Europe.

In October 1951, he was promoted to the four-star rank of General and appointed Commanding General of Tactical Air Command at Langley Air Force Base, VA.

General Cannon retired from the service on 31 March 1954. At the time of his retirement, he was senior air officer in point-of-service, holding serial number 3A.

Medals and Awards

Distinguished Service Medals (4 Awards)
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal
Air Medal

He also had medals from Great Britain, France, Italy, Poland, Yugoslavia and Morocco.


On 8 June 1957, Clovis Air Force Base in Clovis, NM, was renamed Cannon Air Force Base in honor of General Cannon.

The Arnold Air Society Squadron at Utah State University is named the John K. Cannon Squadron in honor of his achievements and alumni status.

Death and Burial

General John Kenneth Cannon died of a heart attack on 12 January 1955 at his home in Arcadia, CA. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

Honoree ID: 532   Created by: MHOH




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