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First Name: Walter

Last Name: Sweeney

Birthplace: Wheeling, WV, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Middle Name: Campbell

Date of Birth: 23 July 1909

Date of Death: 22 December 1965

Rank: General

Years Served: 1930-1965
Walter Campbell Sweeney, Jr.

Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1930

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Walter Campbell Sweeney, Jr.
General, U.S. Air Force

Walter Campbell Sweeney, Jr. was born on 23 July 1909 in Wheeling, WV. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in June 1930 and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry. In October 1934, he attended Primary Flying School at Randolph Field, TX, and then graduated from the Advanced Flying School at Kelly Field, TX, in October 1935. His first operational assignment was with the Eighth Attack Squadron of the Third Attack Group at Barksdale Field, LA.

In June 1939, Sweeney joined the Fifth Bomb Group in Hawaii and later transferred to the 11th Bomb Group as Commanding Officer of the 431st Bomb Squadron. He commanded an Army Air Force Task Group during the Battle of Midway in June 1942. In July 1942, he became the Air Officer for the Theater Group, Operations Division of the War Department General Staff in Washington, DC.

In July 1944, Sweeney was assigned to the 73rd Bomb Wing and moved with this unit from Colorado Springs, CO, to the Pacific area, serving as Chief of Staff and later Deputy Commander. While with the Wing in the Marianas, he participated in the first unprecedented low-level attack with B-29s against the Japanese. On a later mission he lost his aircraft, paddled ashore in a life raft, and returned to his island base. In July 1945, he became Director of Plans of the Strategic Air Force, Pacific Ocean Area, Guam.

After the war, he served as a member of the Joint War Plans Committee for the Army Air Force in Washington until July 1946, when he became an Instructor at the National War College.

In October 1947, Sweeney was assigned to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, and the following year was named Director of Plans for the Strategic Air Command with headquarters at Omaha, NE.

In April 1953, he was assigned to Command the Fifteenth Air Force at March Air Force Base, CA. In June 1954, while commander of this strategic bomber force, he led a trio of Stratojets in history's first non-stop flight of jet bombers across the Pacific Ocean.

For six years, from August 1955 until September 1961, Sweeney commanded the Eighth Air Force at Westover Air Force Base, MA.

On 30 June 1961, Sweeney was promoted to the four-star rank of General and assumed command of the Tactical Air Command with headquarters at Langley Air Force Base, VA.

General Sweeney retired from the Air Force on 1 August 1965.

Medals and Awards

Distinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star Medal
Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster
Distinguished Flying Cross
Air Medal

General Sweeney was rated a Command Pilot.

Death and Burial

General Walter Campbell Sweeney, Jr. died on 22 December 1965 at age 56. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, in Section 30, Site 203-1.

His wife, Midge Murray Sweeney, died in 1998 and is buried with her husband.

Honoree ID: 849   Created by: MHOH




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