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First Name: Jack

Last Name: Catton

Birthplace: Berkeley, CA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Middle Name: Joseph

Date of Birth: 05 February 1920

Date of Death: 05 December 1990

Rank: General

Years Served: 1940-1974
Jack Joseph Catton

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


Jack Joseph Catton

General, U.S. Air Force

Jack Joseph Catton was born on 5 February 1920 in Berkeley, CA. He attended Fairfax High School in Los Angeles; Santa Monica Junior College; and Loyola University in Los Angeles, CA.

He entered the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1940 as a flying cadet and received pilot training at Santa Maria, CA, and Randolph and Kelly Fields in TX. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps in February 1941.

Early in World War II, General Catton served as an instructor pilot at Barksdale Field, LA, and Hendricks Field, FL, and as a squadron commander at Lockbourne Field, OH. He flew the first B-29 bomber across the Pacific to the Mariana Islands in 1944. While serving with the XXI Bomber Command, he was awarded the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters and the Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster for extraordinary achievement during combat missions against Japan.

In 1946-47 Catton took part in the first two atomic weapons tests in the Pacific. During this period, he also commanded the 65th Bombardment Squadron. In June 1948 he was assigned as Chief of the Policy Branch, Directorate of Plans, at Strategic Air Command headquarters, Andrews Air Force Base, MD. He moved with the command to Offutt Air Force Base, NE, as Chief of the Requirements Branch, Directorate of Plans. After a successful bout with polio, he went to March Air Force Base, CA, in 1950 and served as Director of Operations for the 22nd Bombardment Wing and later for the 12th Air Division, until November 1951.

After flying combat missions against North Korea out of Japan for 90 days, Catton went to Fairchild Air Force Base, WA, in February 1952 as Deputy Commander of the 92nd Bombardment Wing. As Commander, he later led the Wing from Fairchild to Guam in the first test of B-36 aircraft capabilities in sustained oversea operations. He then went to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, AZ, to command the 43rd Bombardment Wing for a year. In June 1956 he returned to SAC Headquarters for a tour of duty in the Directorate of Operations.

In November 1958, Catton was selected as Chief of Staff for the Eighth Air Force, Westover Air Force Base, MA. When he assumed Command of the 817th Air Division at Pease Air Force Base, NH, in July 1959, he was the youngest Brigadier General in the Air Force. Two years later he took Command of the 822nd Air Division at Turner Air Force Base, GA, where he served one year prior to becoming Commander of the 823rd Air Division at Homestead Air Force Base, FL. In August 1963, he was named Commander of the 821st Strategic Aerospace Division at Ellsworth Air Force Base, SD.

In February 1964, he was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as Director of Operational Requirements, Deputy Chief of Staff for Programs and Requirements (later reorganized as Operational Requirements and Development Plans, Deputy Chief of Staff for Research and Development). During this period, he served as the Department of Defense representative and Chairman of the National Committee for Clear Air Turbulence. In July 1966, he was transferred to the Office of the Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Programs and Resources as the Director of Aerospace Programs, with additional duties as Chairman of the Air Staff Board. In August 1967, he became Deputy Chief of Staff for Programs and Resources. Catton took command of Fifteenth Air Force at March AFB, CA, in August 1968.

On 1 August 1969, he was promoted to the four-star rank of General and assigned as Commander of the Military Airlift Command at Scott Air Force Base, IL. In September 1972 he became the Commander of the Air Force Logistics Command with headquarters at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH.

General Catton was rated as a Command Pilot. He was qualified in the C-5 Galaxy, C-141 Starlifter, C-9 Nightingale, all bombers from the B-17 Flying Fortress through the B-52 Stratofortress, KC-97 Stratotanker and KC-135 Stratotanker, the F-4 Phantom II fighter bomber and the HH-53 helicopter. In addition he had limited experience in many of the century series fighters, and logged nearly 14,000 flying hours.

He retired from the Air Force on 1 August 1974.

Medals and Awards

Air Force Distinguished Service Medal (2 Awards)

Legion of Merit (2 Awards)

Distinguished Flying Cross (2 Awards)

Purple Heart

Air Medal (4 Awards)

Army Commendation Medal

In Retirement

After his retirement, Catton worked for Lockheed Corporation as a Senior Vice President until 1984.

Death and Burial

General Jack Joseph Catton died on 5 December 1990. He is buried at the United States Air Force Academy Cemetery in Colorado Springs, CO.

His son, Jack Catton, Jr., is also a U.S. Air Force general.

Honoree ID: 548   Created by: MHOH




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