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First Name: Louis

Last Name: Wilson Jr.

Birthplace: Huntington, WV, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Home of Record: Huntington, WV
Middle Name: Locke

Date of Birth: 10 January 1919

Date of Death: 25 June 2010

Rank: General

Years Served: 1943-1977
Louis L. Wilson Jr.

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

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


Louis L. Wilson Jr.

General, U.S. Air Force

Louis L. Wilson, Jr. was born on 10 January 1919 in Huntington, WV. He graduated from Hurricane High School in Huntington in 1937 and then attended Greenbriar Military School in Lewisburg, WV. After a year's service with the 11th Infantry, he entered the U.S. Military Academy in 1939. He graduated in January 1943 with a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Forces. He completed flying school while at the Academy.

Military Career

His first assignment was with the 358th Fighter Group, a P-47 Thunderbolt unit that was deployed to England in October 1943 for bomber escort duty with the Eighth Air Force. Just prior to D-Day, the Group was used for interdiction missions in preparation for the invasion of Normandy. Subsequently, the Group was transferred to the Ninth Air Force and flew close air support missions for General George S. Patton's drive through France. During this period, his Group was cited three times by the president for its performance. By the time the war had ended, Wilson had flown 114 combat missions and was Commander of the 367th Fighter Squadron.

He was assigned to the Second Air Force in January 1946, and later the Fifteenth Air Force at Colorado Springs, CO. In March 1946, the Second was inactivated and the Fifteenth became the first numbered Air Force of the Strategic Air Command.

In July 1948, he began 14 years of duty with various Eighth Air Force units of the Strategic Air Command. From 1948-53, he served with the 509th Bombardment Wing at Walker Air Force Base, NM, and helped organize the 6th Bombardment Wing at Walker. During this period, he was a B-29 Superfortress and a B-36 Peacemaker Squadron Commander.

Wilson was assigned to Eighth Air Force Headquarters, Fort Worth, TX, in June 1953 as Deputy Director of Personnel. He was transferred in September 1955 to the 380th Bombardment Wing at Plattsburgh Air Force Base, NY, as Director of Operations. He returned in July 1957 to Eighth Air Force headquarters at Westover Air Force Base, MA, where he served first as Director of Plans and later as Inspector General. In October 1960, he became Commander of the 4081st Strategic Wing at Ernest Harmon Air Force Base, Newfoundland. Two years later, he was transferred to Strategic Air Command headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base, NE, as Chief of the Plans Division.

He was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, DC, in August 1964 where he served as Deputy Director of Operational Requirements and Development Plans in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Research and Development. During this four-year tour of duty, he worked on conceptual plans for the B-1 Lancer, the F-15 Eagle, the A-10 Warthog, and advanced versions of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Wilson became Vice Commander of the Space and Missile Systems Organization at Los Angeles Air Force Station, CA, in August 1968. In July 1970, he became Commander of the Space and Missile Test Center, Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA, where he was responsible for testing Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and for launching various space systems.

Wilson was appointed as the Inspector General of the U.S. Air Force in September 1971. He assumed duties as Vice Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, with headquarters at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, in September 1973.

On 1 July 1974, Wilson was promoted to the four-star rank of General and appointed as Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Air Forces, with headquarters at Hickam Air Force Base, HI.

One of the lesser-known actions that Wilson commanded was Operation Baby Lift, the evacuation of over 2,000 orphaned children to new adoptive parents in the U.S.

General Wilson retired from the Air Force on 31 May 1977. He was rated as a Command Pilot and was awarded the Master Missileman Badge.

In Retirement

During his retirement, Wilson settled on a small ranch in Tucson, AZ, where he fulfilled his childhood dream of raising horses and cattle. He was very active in his community and loved the presence of his family and many friends.

Medals and Awards

Distinguished Service Medal (2 Awards)

Legion of Merit (2 Awards)

Distinguished Flying Cross

Air Medal (19 Awards)

Army Commendation Medal

Presidential Unit Citation Emblem (3 Awards)

French Croix de Guerre

Death and Burial

General Louis L. Wilson, Jr. died on 25 June 2010 in Tucson, AZ.

He was preceded in death by Anita Ward Wilson, his wife and companion of 55 years, and his son, Bobby Lynn Grey. He was survived by his son, Locke Wilson and five grandchildren, Molly, Dylan, Bobby Jr, August and Adria.

Honoree ID: 860   Created by: MHOH




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