Alfred Rockwood Maxwell – Brigadier General, United States Air Force

Alfred Rockwood “Fred” Maxwell, 97, a retired Air Force Brigadier General who held executive positions at Washington area companies and did consulting work for defense contractors, died January 9, 2004, at Virginia Hospital Center-Arlington. He had pneumonia.

After retiring from the Air Force in 1957, General Maxwell was assistant to the president of Siegler Corp. for two years. He then held a succession of jobs: vice president of Hallamore Electronics Co., manager of long-range planning for defense contractor Melpar and director of management analysis for International Business Machines Corp.

He did consulting work until fully retiring in the mid-1980s. He lived in Arlington.

He was a native of Seattle, Washington, and a 1928 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. He received a master's degree in aeronautical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Shortly after West Point, he joined the old Army Air Corps and flew mail runs in Wyoming. Later in the 1930s, he was assigned to the Philippines, where he did aerial explorations of Bataan and the Babuyan Islands for strategic airfields to gird for what became World War II.

He also was a test pilot at what is now Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio and became assistant commandant of the Air Corps engineering school there.

During the war, he was director of operations of U.S. Strategic Air Forces in Europe and U.S. chairman on the Joint U.S. and Royal Air Force Operations Committee.

He also was an observer at the atomic bomb testing at Bikini Atoll in 1946. His final active-duty assignment was commander of the old Rome Air Force Depot in New York.

His decorations included the Distinguished Service Medal and the Legion of Merit.

His marriage to Maxine Maxwell ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Olive Lovett Maxwell of Arlington; a brother; and a sister.


On Friday, January 9, 2004. ALFRED R. MAXWELL of Arlington, Virginia. Beloved husband of Olive L. Maxwell; brother of Dorothy Faust and Jack Maxwell. Also surviving are many nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, February 18, at 11 a.m. at the Fort Myer Post Chapel, Fort Myer, Virginia. Interment Arlington National Cemetery with Full Military Honors. Family request in lieu of flowers contributions may be made to C.C.W.H., 481 Carlise Dr., Herndon, VA 20170.

Courtesy of the United States Air Force:

Retired May 17, 1957

Alfred Rockwood Maxwell was born in Seattle, Washington, in 1906. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy June 9, 1928, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Coast Artillery Corps.

Entering Primary Flying School at Brooks Field, Texas, General Maxwell graduated from Advanced Flying School at Kelly Field, Texas, in September 1929. Assigned to the 95th Pursuit Squadron at Rockwell Field, California, the following month, on November 21, 1929, he was transferred to the Air Corps. Entering the Air Corps Technical School at Chanute Field, Illinois., in October 1930, he graduated the following August and returned to the 95th, moving with it to March Fie1d, California, in October 1931.

The following January General Maxwell was transferred to the 64th Service Squadron at March Field. He was assigned to the Air Corps Mail Operations at Cheyenne, Wyoming, in February 1934, and that May returned for duty with the 34th Pursuit Squadron. Going to Nichols Field Philippine Islands, in January 1935, the general served with the Second Observation Squadron of the Fourth Composite Group, assuming command of the Second in October 1937.

Assigned as a test pilot at Wright Field, Ohio, in February 1938, General Maxwell entered the Air Corps Engineering School there in July 1938, and graduated a year later. Receiving his master of science degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in June 1940, he returned to Wright Field as assistant commandant of the Engineering School. Ordered to Air Corps Headquarters in January 1942, General Maxwell was assistant chief of statistical control, and that July was Named chief of the Materiel and Equipment Section of the Directorate of Bombardment. In the spring of 1943 he was appointed chief of the Bombardment Branch, Requirements Division.

Moving to Europe in February 1944, General Maxwell was designated director of operations of the U.S. Strategic Air Forces in Europe. In July 1945 he returned to Air Corps Headquarters as chief of the Requirements Division, Office of the Assistant Chief of Air Staff for Operations. Entering the National War College in July 1947, he graduated a year later and assumed command of the Marianas Air Materiel Area. Appointed commander of the 19th Bomb Wing at Kadena Air Force Base, Okinawa, in June 1949, the general moved with it to Guam a month later, and that November was named chief of staff of the 20th Air Force on Okinawa.

Transferred to the Air Research and Development Command in July 1950, General Maxwell was appointed deputy commanding general. Assuming command of Detachment A of that command in December 1950, the following May he moved in that capacity to Baltimore, Md. In July 1951, the general became vice commander, Air Research and Development Command, and that September assumed additional duty as assistant for operational systems. The following January he was appointed special assistant to the commanding general, Air Research and Development Command. Named Air Force secretary to the Department of Defense Research and Development Board in April 1952, in July 1953 General Maxwell was redesignated Air Force secretary to the assistant secretary of defense for research and development.

Joining the Air Materiel Command, on February 1, 1955 General Maxwell assumed command of the Rome Air Force Depot at Rome, New York.

The General retired from active duty on May 17, 1957.

His decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star; French Legion of Honor (Chevalier) and Croix de Guerre; and the Order of the British Empire (Honorary Commander). He is rated a command pilot, combat observer and aircraft observer.

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