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First Name: Louis

Last Name: Seith

Birthplace: Quincy, MA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Middle Name: Theodore

Date of Birth: 17 January 1921

Date of Death: 06 March 2007

Rank: General

Years Served: 1943-1977
Louis Theodore Seith

Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1943

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


Louis Theodore Seith

General, U.S. Air Force

Louis Theodore Seith was born on 17 January 1921 in Quincy, MA. He received his secondary education in San Diego, CA, and graduated from Brown Military Academy, Pacific Beach, CA, in 1938. He entered the U.S. Military Academy in 1939, where he played varsity football and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree and a commission as Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Forces in 1943. He attended flying school while at the Academy and received his pilot wings in 1942.

Military Career

After graduation he entered B-17 Flying Fortress flight training and later joined the 483rd Bombardment Group at Tampa, FL. He commanded the 840th Bombardment Squadron when the Group went to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations in March 1944 and became Group Operations Officer in January 1945. He participated in the campaigns of Rome-Arno, Po Valley, Rhineland, North Apennines, Central Europe, Northern France, Southern France, and Southern Europe. He flew 52 combat missions during his World War II service.

Seith returned to the U.S. in August 1945 and was assigned to the U.S. Military Academy as a Physics Instructor. In 1948, he was assigned to Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, VA, first as Aide-de-Camp to Lieutenant General Elwood "Pete" Quesada and later as a member of the TAC staff. During this period he attended the Air Tactical School.

From July 1950 to August 1953, he was an Aircraft Accident Investigator and Flight Safety Research Plans and Policy Officer with the Deputy Inspector General, Headquarters USAF. He left this assignment to attend the Air Command and Staff School which he completed in December 1953.

During the next three and one-half years, he served with the Far East Air Forces, first with the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron in Japan and later as Director of Fighter-Bomber Operations, Headquarters Japan Air Defense Force. He ended the tour of duty in Japan as Director of Plans, Headquarters Fifth Air Force.

He joined the staff of the U.S. Air Force Academy in June 1957 as Operations and Training Officer to the Commandant of Cadets, and became Deputy Commandant two years later. He left this assignment to attend the National War College, and following graduation in June 1961, he assumed Command of the 414th Fighter Group, Oxnard Air Force Base, CA. In July 1963, he was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as Deputy Director of Education and Training in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel. He returned to the U.S. Air Force Academy in July 1965 and was appointed Commandant of Cadets.

In December 1967, he became Chief of Staff, Headquarters Seventh Air Force, Tan Son Nhut Airfield, Republic of Vietnam. He assumed duties as Deputy Commander, Seventh Air Force/Thirteenth Air Force, in June 1968. Seith became Commander, U.S. Military Assistance Group, Thailand, and Chief, Joint U.S. Military Advisory Group, Thailand, in May 1969.

General Seith joined the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in August 1971 as Vice Director, J-3 (Operations) and in July 1972 was named Director for Plans and Policy (J-5).

On 1 August 1974, Seith was promoted to the four-star rank of General and assigned as Chief of Staff at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.

General Seith was rated as a Command Pilot and had over 4,300 flying hours, including 261 combat hours during World War II. He was also a qualified parachutist, having completed the course in May 1966.

General Seith retired from the Air Force in 1977.

Medals and Awards

Distinguished Service Cross

Distinguished Service Medal (3 Awards)

Legion of Merit (2 Awards)

Distinguished Flying Cross

Air Medal (5 Awards)

Joint Service Commendation Medal

Air Force Commendation Medal

Distinguished Unit Citation (2 Awards)

French Croix de Guerre with Palm

Vietnam Air Force Distinguished Service Order, 1st Class

Vietnam Air Gallantry Medal with Golden Wing

Thailand Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant

Thailand Second Class-Knight Commander


The Air Force Aid Society named an award after him.

Death and Burial

General Louis Theodore Seith died on 6 March 2007 in Potomac Falls, VA. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

Honoree ID: 834   Created by: MHOH




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