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First Name: Theodore

Last Name: Milton

Birthplace: Schofield Barracks, HI, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Home of Record: Washington, DC
Middle Name: Ross

Date of Birth: 29 December 1915

Date of Death: 24 August 2010

Rank: General

Years Served: 1934 - 1974
Theodore Ross Milton

Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1940

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)
•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Theodore Ross Milton
General, U.S. Air Force

Theodore Ross Milton was born on 29 December 1915 at Schofield Barracks, HI. He enlisted in the Regular Army in 1934 and subsequently entered the U.S. Military Academy, graduating in the class of 1940. Following graduation, he entered the U.S. Army Air Corps for flight training and earned his Pilot rating in March 1941.

On 12 August 1943, then-Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Ross Milton was serving as Pilot of a B-17 Flying Fortress Bomber and as Commanding Officer of the 91st Bombardment Group (Heavy), Eighth Air Force, U.S. Army Air Forces in the European Theater of Operations. During a bombing mission against a German refinery at Gelsenkirchen, Germany that day, LTC Milton directed 22 B-17s from his position as Pilot of the leading aircraft. Despite a heavy overcast and fierce German opposition, a target of vital importance to the enemy's air effort was virtually destroyed by the bombers. The excellent results obtained were attributed to the gallantry and superb leadership displayed by LTC Milton and earned him the U.S. Army's third highest award for valor, the Silver Star Medal.

LTC Milton led a force of 291 B-17 aircraft, in two waves and without fighter escort, over Schweinfurt, Germany on 12 October 1943. The force dropped more than 2,800 bombs on the ball-bearing factories there. This was a costly mission: 60 aircraft were shot down, 121 aircraft were damaged, and more than 600 airmen were killed, wounded, or missing-in-action.

On 11 January 1944, LTC Milton’s unit was participating in a bombing mission over Oschersleben, Germany. About one hour before his unit arrived at the target, German fighters intercepted the Combat Wing's B-17 bombers en route to the target. Although LTC Milton was wounded by cannon fire that hit his aircraft and exploded in the cockpit, he refused medical aid and directed his Combat Wing to the objective. During that time, LTC Milton continued to perform the duties of Co-Pilot of the badly-damaged plane. As the bombers withdrew from the target, LTC Milton remained at his post and led the large formation of aircraft to diversion airdromes, as necessitated by unforeseen adverse weather. LTC Milton relinquished his flying post only after all the planes of the formation had landed. LTC Milton’s courageous actions and extraordinary heroism that day earned him the U.S. Army's second highest award for valor, the Distinguished Service Cross.

LTC Milton led 730 B-17 and B-24 aircraft on the first successful daylight bombing raid over Berlin, Germany, on 6 April 1944. He was Commanding Officer of the 384th Bombardier Group when World War II ended in Europe.

He returned to the U.S. in 1945, and remained until 1948 when he was reassigned to Europe as Chief of Staff for the Combined Airlift Task Force, the command that directed operations for the Berlin Airlift.

Between 1949-57, he was assigned to the Military Air Transport Service for two years as Director of Operations; attended Air War College; and served three years as Executive Assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force.

He was promoted to Brigadier General in October 1957, and was named Commander, 41st Air Division, Fifth Air Force, Japan, a tactical fighter-bomber command.

In 1961, Milton was promoted to Major General and reassigned to Clark Air Base in the Philippines as Commander, Thirteenth Air Force, the parent command to all U.S. air bases in Southeast Asia.

Milton commanded Thirteenth Air Force until 1963, at which time he was selected as Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations, to the Commander-in-Chief Pacific, with headquarters at Camp H. M. Smith, HI.

He returned to the continental U.S. in 1965, and served for the next 18 months as Chief of Staff, Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, VA. In February 1967 he was promoted to Lieutenant General and assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as Inspector General, a position he held until August 1967 when he was named Comptroller of the Air Force.

In March 1969 Milton assumed duties at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, as the Deputy Chairman, NATO Military Committee.

Milton was promoted to the four-star rank of General on 31 July 1971 and assumed duties as the U.S. Representative to the NATO Military Committee on 1 August.

General Milton retired from the Air Force on 31 July 1974.

Post-Military Service

In retirement he wrote for Air Force Magazine and frequently lectured at the U.S. Air Force Academy. In 1985, Milton was a recipient of the Thomas D. White National Defense Award, established on 1 March 1962 by the Air Force Academy.

Medals, Awards and Badges

Army Air Force Distinguished Service Cross
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Silver Star Medal
Legion of Merit with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Distinguished Flying Cross with 3 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart
Air Medal with 4 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Presidential Unit Citation
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with Silver Star
World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation Medal with Gold Airplane
National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star
Air Force Longevity Service Award with Silver and 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Croix de Guerre with Palm (France)
Command Pilot Badge
Headquarters Air Force Badge

He was also awarded the Honorary Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire and the British Distinguished Flying Cross.

Death and Burial

General Theodore Ross Milton died of a stroke on 24 August 2010 at Oro Valley, AZ. The Secretary of the Air Force authorized the U.S. flag to be flown at half-staff on 21 January 2011, the day of his interment at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, in Section 54, Site 6379.

He is survived by his wife, Grace Milton; son Theodore Ross (Judy) Milton, Jr.; and daughters Patricia Adel (Junius) Morgan, Barbara Bayley (Mark) Milton.

Honoree ID: 792   Created by: MHOH




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