Paul Roberts Stoney
Major General, United States Air Force
On January 9, 1998, the Air Force communications community lost one of its most distinguished leaders with the death of retired Major General Paul R. Stoney. General Stoney served the longest term (31 July 1969 - 31 October 1973) of any commander that the Air Force communications organization, at that time the Air Force Communications Service (AFCS), has ever had. In addition, he had also been the Vice Commander of AFCS for the three years (5 July 1966 - 31 July 1969) prior to becoming commander. Thus, during seven critical years of Air Force communications history, General Stoney played an important role in the leadership and direction of those communications.
During this period, American forces were heavily
engaged in Southeast Asia, with all the disparate communications needs
and innovative solutions which that entailed. It was also during this period
that Air Force communicators became increasingly involved with the American
space effort though such programs as Gemini, Apollo, and the various communications
satellite projects. Modernization
Paul Stoney was born in Nashville, Tennessee, March 24, 1919. He graduated from Emory University in 1941, and in October of that year enlisted as an Aviation Cadet in the U.S. Army Air Corps. After completing pilot training, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant, and spent the next four months as a flying instructor at Columbus Field, Mississippi.
In November 1942, General Stoney was assigned to a newly formed Instrument Flying Evaluation Group, staying with that group until March 1944. While there, he participated in extensive studies and evaluations of instrument approach and landing systems, leading to the formation of standard instrument flying techniques for the Army Air Forces.
Having completed the communications officers’ course, General Stoney was assigned to the 78th Air Base Group, first at Sheppard Field, Texas, then at Langley Field, Virginia. The 78th was an overseas training and processing center for the Army Airways Communications Service (AACS).
After the conclusion of World War II, General Stoney was assigned, in December 1946, to the 7th AACS Wing, Tokyo, as the Assistant for Plans. His primary duties involved rehabilitating the World War II communications equipment in the Pacific area, and establishing permanent point-to-point and navigation aids facilities in that area.
From July 1947 to August 1949, General Stoney
was the Deputy Director for Operations for the 1810th AACS Group, Hickam
AFB, Hawaii. There he was responsible for all communications facilities
in the southern Pacific area. He returned to the United States in August
1949 and was assigned to HQ AACS
General Stoney entered the Air Command and Staff School at Maxwell Air Force Base, in July 1953, where he was attached to the Advanced Studies Group of the Air War College, which was involved in a detailed assessment of the use of air power as an instrument of national policy. From January 1954 to February 1956, General Stoney commanded the 1932d AACS Squadron at Goose Air Base, Labrador.
Starting in February 1956, the general spent over three years on the Air Staff where he was responsible for developing communications programming and budgeting procedures for new Air Force communications equipment. After attending the US Army War College, he became, in July 1960, the Deputy Chief of Staff of Communications-Electronics for HQ Strategic Air Command.
In January 1963, General Stoney returned to Washington for an assignment in the ffice of the Director of Defense Research and Engineering, Office of the Secretary of Defense. There he participated in the initial developmental work supporting the establishment of the National Military Command System, and was part of the study group that devised the Consolidated Command Control Communications Program that was later used throughout the Department of Defense.
General Stoney returned to HQ Strategic Air Command in November 1964 as Chief of Communications-Electronics, before going to Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, to be first, the Vice Commander, then Commander of the Air Force Communications Service.
Besides leading the command throughout much of the war in Southeast Asia, General Stoney accomplished two things of particular note during his tenure as commander: He moved the headquarters from Scott to Richards-Gebaur AFB, Missouri, in July 1970—the only time the Air Force communications organization controlled its own base; and, in 1971, he established the AFCS NCO Academy.
General Stoney retired from the Air Force on October 31, 1973. He was presented the AFCC Order of the Sword in September 1990. At that ceremony, General Stoney was credited with "laying the solid foundation for today’s superb communications system," and was remembered as "a warrior who cared for people and as a forward-thinking leader who took great steps to improve working conditions, facilities, and equipment."
In a speech given thirty years ago, General Stoney painted a picture which Air Force communicators can still identify with. He stated, "there are indeed many tough technical problems confronting the military communicator these days, but none is more significant than the problem of getting and keeping qualified people." He also observed that the pace of operations for the communicator was a demanding one. "If you as a communicator sometimes wish for a return to a less hectic existence, or are tempted to move into a less demanding field, your situation is pretty normal. The future I would predict holds even greater demands on you. How else but through more competent communications can we cope with a world of growing complexity and provide to the decision maker the essential elements of information gleaned from a perishable mass of data that is changing at break-neck pace and originating all over the globe."
General Stoney was interred, with full military
honors, in Arlington National Cemetery on February 2, 1998.
MAJOR GENERAL PAUL R. STONEY
Major General Paul Roberts Stoney wass commander of the Air Force Communications Service with headquarters at Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base, Mo. The command's mission includes engineering, installing and maintaining communications-electronics facilities for all Air Force commands. The command is also responsible for the operation of long-haul intercontinental and on-base communications, air traffic control and navigational aid facilities and services for the Air Force and selected government and civilian agencies.
General Stoney was born in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1919, but considers Anniston, Ala., his hometown. He graduated from Anniston High School, in 1937, and from Emory University, Atlanta, Ga., in 1941, with a bachelor of arts degree in psychology. He enlisted as an aviation cadet in October 1941, and upon completion of pilot training in July 1942, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army Air Corps.
General Stoney served as a flying instructor at Columbus Field, Miss., until November 1942 when he was assigned to a newly formed Instrument Flying Evaluation Group. With this group until March 1944, he participated in extensive studies and evaluation of instrument approach and landing systems, leading to the formation of standard instrument flying techniques in the Air Force.
From November 1944 to April 1945, he attended Communications Officer School. He then was assigned to the 78th Air Base Group, first at Sheppard Field, Texas, then at Langley Field, Va., which was an overseas training and processing center for the Airways and Air Communications Service.
In December 1946 General Stoney was assigned to the 7th AACS Wing, Tokyo, Japan, as the assistant for plans. His primary duties involved rehabilitation of the World War II communications equipment in the Pacific area and establishing permanent point-to-point and navigation aids facilities in that area to replace facilities installed during the war. From July 1947 until August 1949, he was deputy director of operations for the 1810th AACS Group, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, and was responsible for all communications facilities in the Southern Pacific area.
General Stoney returned to the United States in August 1949, and was assigned to Headquarters AACS, Washington, D.C., where he planned a major updating of worldwide AACS facilities, ground/air and global communications. In July 1953 he entered the Air Command and Staff School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. While at the school, he was attached to the Advanced Studies Group of the Air War College which was involved in a detailed assessment of use of airpower as an instrument of national policy.
In January 1954 General Stoney became commander of the 1932d AACS Squadron, Goose Air Base, Labrador. In February 1956 he was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force where he was responsible for developing communications programming and budget procedures for new Air Force communications equipment. In August 1959 he was selected to attend the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pa.
In July 1960 General Stoney became deputy chief of Communications-Electronics for Strategic Air Command at Offutt Air Force Bases Neb. He returned to Washington, D.C., in January 1963 for an assignment in the Office of the Director of Defense Research and Engineering, Office of the Secretary of Defense. He participated in the initial development work supporting the establishment of the National Military Command System and was part of the study group that devised the Consolidated Command Control Communications Program now being used throughout the Defense Department.
General Stoney returned to Strategic Air Command headquarters in November 1964 as chief of Communications-Electronics, where he was responsible for operation of all of SAC's complex communications systems.
He became vice commander of the Air Force Communications Service, when its headquarters was at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., in July 1966 and became the commander in August 1969. On July 16, 1970, General Stoney transferred to Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base, Mo., thus marking the date the command headquarters officially moved to its new station.
His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster and Army Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters.
General Stoney's hometown is Anniston, Alabama.
He was promoted to the temporary grade of major
general effective Aug. 1, 1969, with date of rank July 1, 1965.