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First Name: Timothy

Last Name: O'Keefe

Birthplace: Brooklyn, NY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Middle Name: Francis

Date of Birth: 18 January 1919

Date of Death: 14 October 1984

Rank: General

Years Served:
Timothy Francis O'Keefe


Timothy Francis O'Keefe

General, U.S. Air Force

Timothy Francis O'Keefe was born in Brooklyn, NY, on 18 January 1919. He graduated from St. Francis Preparatory School in Brooklyn in 1936 and then attended St. Francis College.

Military Career

In March 1940, he entered military service as an aviation cadet. In November 1940, he completed flight training at Kelly Field in Texas and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps Reserve.

His first assignment was as a flight instructor at Kelly Field, TX. On 22 January 1941, he married Eileen McSweeney. In June 1941, he was assigned as Assistant Aviation Cadet Supervisor of the Primary Flying School at Cuero, TX, and in 1943 he became the Commander. In January 1944, he attended the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, KS, and upon graduation in March 1944, returned to the Primary Flying School as Commander.

In September 1944, O'Keefe became Operations and Training Staff Officer for the Thirteenth Air Force in the Southwest Pacific. In January 1946, he was assigned to Headquarters Army Air Forces, Washington DC, to serve as a member of the Operations Staff. He reported to Randolph Field, TX, in July 1946 for duty as Assistant Director and then Commander of the Primary Pilot Training School.

In September 1947, he entered the Air Command and Staff School at Maxwell Air Force Base, AL. Upon his graduation in June 1948, he was assigned as Air Inspector at the Air Training Command, Barksdale Air Force Base, LA. He returned to Texas in July 1949, this time to Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, as Commander of the 3545th Pilot Training Group.

Korean War

O'Keefe next went to Japan as Deputy for Operations, Far East Air Materiel Command. During the Korean War in April 1951, he went to Korea as Commander of the famed "Mosquito Group," the 6147th Tactical Control Group, which under his command underwent equipment improvement and tactical advances important in the development of tactical air control used during the Vietnam War.

He returned to the U.S. in January 1952 and was Commander of Pope Air Force Base, NC, until December when he entered the Advanced Instrument Flying School at Moody Air Force Base, GA. Upon his graduation in March 1953, he was reassigned to Pope as Inspector General for the Ninth Air Force.

From August 1953 until August 1959, O'Keefe served with fighter units at Alexandria Air Force Base, LA, where he became Deputy Commander of the 366th Fighter-Bomber Wing, and at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, NC, as Deputy Commander, 83rd Fighter-Day Wing and then Commander of the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing. Between 1954-58, he led the Tactical Air Command gunnery teams in the Worldwide Gunnery Meets at Nellis Air Force Base, NV.

In August 1959, he entered the National War College in Washington DC, and after graduation in July 1960, was assigned to the Seventeenth Air Force in Germany as Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations. He returned to Washington in July 1963 and was assigned to Headquarters USAF as Deputy Director of Operational Requirements, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Programs and Requirements, and in August 1964 became Assistant for Logistics Planning, Deputy Chief of Staff, Systems and Logistics.

Vietnam War

O'Keefe began his second tour of duty in Japan in August 1967 as Vice Commander of the Fifth Air Force. He had previously served with the Fifth Air Force during the Korean War. In August 1968, he returned to the U.S. as Commander of Tactical Air Command's Ninth Air Force at Shaw Air Force Base, SC.

In October 1969, he was appointed Director for Logistics, the Joint Staff, Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in Washington DC.

On 11 February 1971, Timothy's son, Richard, was killed in a plane crash while returning home from a mission in Vietnam. Timothy became Vice Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Air Forces, in August of that year. He was appointed Deputy Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Readiness Command with headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base, FL, in April 1973.

He assumed Command of the U.S. Support Activities Group/Seventh Air Force, with headquarters at Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, on 8 October 1973. He also received his promotion to the four-star rank of General in 1973.

General O'Keefe retired on 1 September 1974.

Medals and Awards

Distinguished Service Medal

Legion of Merit (3 Awards)

Distinguished Flying Cross

Air Medal (3 Awards)

Bronze Star Medal

Air Force Commendation Medal (2 Awards)

Korean Ulchi with Silver Star

Death and Burial

General Timothy Francis O'Keefe died on 14 October 1984. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, in Section 5, Lot 7015-1.

He was survived by his wife, Eileen McSweeney O'Keefe who died on 23 February 2005 and is now buried next to her husband; and his sons, Timothy Jr., Terrence, J. Vincent; and Richard's son, Dennis Michael O'Keefe.

Honoree ID: 806   Created by: MHOH




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