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First Name: George

Last Name: Simler

Birthplace: Johnstown, PA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Middle Name: B.

Date of Birth: 16 February 1921

Date of Death: 09 September 1972

Rank: General

Years Served: 1942-1972
George B. Simler

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


George B. Simler

General, U.S. Air Force

George B. Simler was born on 16 February 1921 in Johnstown, PA. He entered the University of Maryland in 1940 and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in August 1942. He returned to the University of Maryland in 1946 as the first Professor of Air Science and Tactics at the University. He later enrolled as a student to complete his college work, graduating in 1948. He graduated from the National War College in 1961.

Simler served two combat tours in the European Theater of Operations during World War II. In July 1944, on his second combat tour, he was shot down, evaded capture, and successfully returned to the Allied lines in September 1944.

Following assignments as Commander of the 86th Fighter-Bomber Group and the 355th Fighter Group, Simler was assigned to the U.S. Air Force Academy as Director of Athletics. Later in his life, he would lead the campaign to establish the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, the annual football competition between the three U.S. service academies.

Simler was next assigned overseas to Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, and became Commander of the 18th Tactical Fighter Wing, which was the first Pacific Air Forces organization to convert to the F-105 Thunderchief. In June 1965, following an assignment as Commander of the Tactical Fighter Weapons Center, Nellis Air Force Base, NE, he went to Southeast Asia. During this assignment he was Director of Operations of the Seventh Air Force and flew combat missions in every tactical strike aircraft assigned to the Seventh Air Force.

From Southeast Asia, Simler was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force where he became Director of Operations in August 1967. He became Vice Commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe in July 1969. Simler assumed Command of Air Training Command in September 1970.

Medals and Awards

Distinguished Service Medal (2 Awards)

Legion of Merit (2 Awards)

Distinguished Flying Cross (2 Awards)

Air Medal (12 Awards)

Air Force Commendation Medal

Army Commendation Medal

Purple Heart

Vietnam Air Gallantry Cross

Death and Burial

Lieutenant General Simler, along with his aide, Captain Gil L. Gillespie, was killed in the crash of a T-38 Talon jet trainer on takeoff at Randolph Air Force Base, TX, on 9 September 1972. He was scheduled to be promoted to the four-star rank of General and take command of Military Airlift Command at Scott Air Force Base, IL, on 12 September 1972. He was posthumously promoted to the grade of General effective 16 August 1972.

General George B. Simler is buried at the United States Air Force Academy Cemetery in Colorado Springs, CO.

Honoree ID: 838   Created by: MHOH




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