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First Name: John

Last Name: McConnell

Birthplace: Booneville, AR, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Middle Name: Paul

Date of Birth: 07 February 1908

Date of Death: 21 November 1986

Rank: General

Years Served: 1932 - 1969
John Paul McConnell

Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1932

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


John Paul McConnell
General, U.S. Air Force

John Paul McConnell was born on 7 February 1908 in Booneville, AR, the son of Dr. Samuel Paul McConnell, a medical doctor, and Desseau M. Dorsey McConnell. John McConnell graduated magna cum laude from Henderson Brown College at Arkadelphia, AR, with a bachelor of science degree in 1927. He entered the U.S. Military Academy a year later and, at the time of his graduation in 1932, was First Captain of the Corps of Cadets. After taking flying training at Randolph and Kelly Fields in Texas, he received his pilot wings in 1933.

A fighter pilot during his early years in the U.S. Army Air Corps (later U.S. Army Air Forces) McConnell gained broad experience through a variety of operational and administrative assignments; including duty as Assistant Executive in the Office of the Chief of Air Forces in Washington. Subsequently, he served in key Air Force positions in both Asia and Europe.

In 1943, he became Chief of Staff of the China-Burma-India Air Force Training Command at Karachi, India (later part of Pakistan), and remained in Asia for the rest of the war. While Senior Air Staff Officer, Air Command Southeast Asia, and Deputy Commander of the Third Tactical Air Force in 1944, he participated in combat operations against the Japanese in Burma. In 1946 he was named Senior Air Adviser to the Chinese government and, at the same time, Commanded the Air Division, Nanking Headquarters Command.

He returned to Air Force Headquarters in Washington in 1947 to become Chief of the Reserve and National Guard Division and, the next year, was appointed Chief of the Air Force's Civilian Components Group. Assigned to England in 1950, he served as Deputy Commander and later, Commander of the Third Air Force. He then took Command of the 7th Air Division of the Strategic Air Command; Commanding the Third Air Force at the same time.

This was followed by a four-year tour as Director of Plans at Headquarters Strategic Air Command, Offutt Air Force Base, NE. In 1957, he was made Commander of Second Air Force, Barksdale Air Force Base, LA, and four years later returned to Strategic Air Command to become Vice Commander-in-Chief.

In 1962, Lieutenant General McConnell was assigned to Europe as Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. European Command and promoted to the four-star rank of General. He was appointed Vice Chief of Staff of the U. S. Air Force in August 1964; on 1 February 1965 he relieved General Curtis E. LeMay and assumed the position of Chief of Staff. His appointment as Chief of Staff was extended to July 1969.

General McConnell retired from the Air Force on 31 July 1969.

Medals and Awards

Army Distinguished Service Medal (2 Awards)
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal (2 Awards)
Legion of Merit (4 Awards)
Distinguished Flying Cross
Bronze Star Medal
Air Medal
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Legion of Honor - Degree of Commander (France)

He had many other foreign awards not listed above.


• In June 1965, he was presented an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of Akron, Akron, Ohio.

• He received an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville in June 1966.

• The public library in his hometown of Booneville, Arkansas is named in his honor and contains many items of memorabilia from his years of service to the U.S. Air Force, including service medals, awards and commendations.


General McConnell's role as Chief of Staff of the Air Force, as well as that of the other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Vietnam War, specifically under the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, has recently been the subject of significant historical research in the area of relationships between senior military leaders and the civilian political leadership and has increasingly become a topical discussion issue and object lesson for officers attending the nation's senior service colleges (i.e., Air War College, Army War College, Naval War College and National War College).

Death and Burial

General John Paul McConnell died on 21 November 1986 in Bethesda, MD. A funeral service was held on 25 November 1986 at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. He is buried at the United States Air Force Academy Cemetery in Colorado Springs, CO, in Plot 003 D 079.

Honoree ID: 782   Created by: MHOH




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