Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: John

Last Name: Roberts

Birthplace: Mankato, MN, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Middle Name: W.

Date of Birth: 01 January 1921

Date of Death: 08 January 1999

Rank: General

Years Served: 1944-1979
John W. Roberts

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


John W. Roberts

General, U.S. Air Force

John W. Roberts was born on 1 January 1921 Mankato, MN. He had a Bachelor of Science Degree from Mankato State Teachers College and a Master's Degree from George Washington University.

Military Career

Roberts received his pilot wings and commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Forces through the aviation cadet program in February 1944. His first assignment was as an instructor pilot at Luke Field, AZ.

Two years later he was reassigned to a fighter wing in Germany. In April 1949, he returned to Instructor Pilot duties in the Fighter Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base, NV. There he won the trophy for top individual scoring in the first U.S. Air Force Fighter Weapons Meet. He was next assigned to Korea where he flew combat missions in the F-84 Thunderjet and F-86 Sabre aircraft. While in Korea he served as flight commander and squadron operations officer.

In 1954, he received his first of three assignments to Headquarters Air Training Command. His first assignment was as an Operations Staff Officer. In 1957 he Commanded the 3529th Combat Crew Training Squadron at Williams Air Force Base, AZ, and in November of that year returned to Headquarters Air Training Command, again as an Operations Staff Officer.

In August 1958 Roberts served with Headquarters 12th Air Force at Waco, TX, first as an Operations Officer and later as Chief of the Combat Crew Directorate. He was transferred to Headquarters Pacific Air Forces, Hickam Air Force Base, HI, in September 1961.

Following graduation from the National War College in 1965, he was assigned to the Pentagon where he was first the Assistant Chief of the Special Warfare Division, Directorate of Plans and Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force; and in October 1966 Chief, Systems Division, Defense Communications Planning Group, at the Naval Observatory.

In October 1967, he became Vice Commander, 4453rd Combat Crew Training Wing, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, AZ, and in December 1968, Commander of the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing, Da Nang Air Base, Vietnam. After 10 months at Da Nang, he moved to Headquarters Seventh Air Force, Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Vietnam, where he was the Director of the Tactical Air Control Center.

In August 1970, Roberts returned to Washington, DC, where he served in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Personnel, as Deputy Director of Personnel Planning, and later Director, Personnel Plans. He became the Deputy Chief of Staff, Personnel, in October 1973. For his contributions to Air Force personnel resource programs management, he was awarded the 1975 Eugene M. Zuckert Management Award.

Roberts became the Commander of the Air Training Command in August 1975. While in that command he was promoted to the four-star rank of General on 29 March 1977.

General Robert retired from the Air Force on 31 March 1977.

Once, while reflecting on his career, he said about his failures, "I crashed two aircraft when I was a captain, a B-25 and later an F-86. Both were pilot error. I cracked up the F-86 in the woods in Michigan where the only thing left after the crash were the engine and me."

Medals and Awards

Distinguished Service Medal (2 Awards)

Silver Star Medal

Legion of Merit (2 Awards)

Distinguished Flying Cross (2 Awards)

Air Medal (8 Awards)

Order of the Sword

Death and Burial

General John W. Roberts died on 8 January 1999. He is buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, TX.

Honoree ID: 824   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image