General Billy M. Minter dies: commanded U.S., Allied air forces in Europe
Billy M. Minter, 78, a fighter pilot and four-star general who served as Commander in Chief, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, and Commander, Allied Forces Central Europe, died June 6, 2005, of coronary artery disease at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
General Minter, who lived in Warrenton, was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. After serving in the Navy during World War II, he attended Oklahoma University in Norman. In 1961, he graduated from the Air Command and Staff College and in 1968 was graduated with distinction from the Air War College.
He received his pilot wings and commission as an officer in the U.S. Air Force in 1949. For the next two decades, he served as a command pilot, accruing 5,600 flying hours in jet fighters and interceptors in assignments that reached from Johnson Air Base in Japan to Hah Air Base in Germany. During the Vietnam War, he flew 106 combat missions and commanded the 354th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Takhli Royal Air Force Base, Thailand.
The general was a logistics expert. He served as Inspector General of Air Force Logistics, as Director of Logistics for the European Command in Stuttgart, Germany and as Chief of Staff of Logistics for the U.S. Air Forces in Europe at Ramstein, Germany. When he returned to the Air Force Headquarters in Washington, D.C., he served first as Assistant Deputy and then as Deputy Chief of Staff, Logistics and Engineering.
In 1982, General Minter was named Commander in Chief of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Commander of Allied Air Forces Central Europe at Ramstein Air Base where he served until his retirement in 1984.
His military decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Presidential Unit Citation emblem and Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon with two oak leaf clusters.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Marion Minter of Warrenton; five children, Mark H. Minter of Leadville, Colorado, Stephen L. Minter of Tucson, Arizona, Patricia Minter-Powell of Watertown, New York, Lisa M. Minter of Southampton, Massachusetts, and Lori J. Minter of Williamsburg, Virginia; and 11 grandchildren.
Also surviving is one brother, Robert W. Minter of Wynnewood, Oklahoma.
A graveside service with full military honors will be held at 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 28, 2005, in Arlington National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made in honor of General Billy M. Minter in memory of his granddaughter, Stephanie Phakos, to the Edwards Public Library, 30 East St., Southampton Massachusetts 01073.
GENERAL BILLY M. MINTER
Retired October 31, 1984. Died June 6, 2005
General Billy M. Minter was commander in chief, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, and commander, Allied Air Forces Central Europe, with headquarters at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
General Minter was born in Oklahoma City in 1926, and graduated from high school at Norman, Okla., in 1944. He graduated from the Air Command and Staff College in 1961 and the Air War College in 1968, both located at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.
After service in World War II, General Minter returned to the University of Oklahoma at Norman. In October 1948 he entered the U.S. Air Force as an aviation cadet and in September 1949 received his commission as a second lieutenant and his pilot wings.
His first assignment was to the Air Training Command as a flying instructor. From November 1949 to November 1950, he was a basic flying instructor in T-6s at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. He then served as an advanced flying instructor in the F-51 program at Craig Air Force Base, Alabama, until May 1952. After F-51 combat crew training at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, in the summer of 1952, General Minter reported to the 40th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, 35th Fighter Group, at Johnson Air Base, Japan. The 40th was the last operational Air Force unit equipped with F-51s. During three years with this squadron, General Minter flew F-51s, F-80s and F-86s.
In September 1955 General Minter was assigned to the 438th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, Air Defense Command, Kincheloe Air Force Base, Mich., where he served as flight commander flying F-89s. He also flew F-102 and F-106 interceptors, and served as the group operations officer for the 507th Fighter Group.
Upon completing the Air Command and Staff College in August 1961, General Minter reported to the 496th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, Hahn Air Base, Germany. During three years at Hahn, he flew F-102s and served as squadron operations officer and chief of maintenance. Later he served as operations staff officer in the 86th Air Division's Directorate of Operations at Ramstein Air Base.
From December 1965 to August 1967, General Minter served as operations officer and then commander of the 71st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at Selfridge Air Force Base, Mich. He later served with the 94th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron.
After graduating with distinction from the Air War College in June 1968, he completed F-105 combat crew training with the 561st Tactical Fighter Squadron at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. He next reported to the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing at Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, in January 1969. After five months as chief, combat operations, and assistant deputy commander for operations, General Minter assumed command of the 354th Tactical Fighter Squadron. During his Southeast Asia tour of duty, he flew 106 combat missions in F-105s.
Returning to the United States in October 1969, he was assigned to the Air Force Logistics Command at the Sacramento Air Materiel Area (later redesignated Sacramento Air Logistics Center), McClellan Air Force Base, Calif. Following a year as chief, Quality Control Division, Directorate of Maintenance, he was assigned to the Directorate of Materiel Management.
General Minter attended the Defense Weapons System Management Course at the Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, in January 1971 and in September 1971 was appointed chief of the F-111 System Management Division at McClellan. He returned to Wright-Patterson in April 1973 and became the inspector general for the Air Force Logistics Command. In May 1974 General Minter was named the deputy director of logistics (J-4), U.S. European Command, with headquarters at Stuttgart, Germany, and served in that capacity until July 1975. General Minter then became deputy chief of staff for logistics at U.S. Air Forces in Europe headquarters at Ramstein Air Base.
Assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., in July 1978, he initially served as assistant deputy chief of staff, logistics and engineering, and in May 1979 he become deputy chief of staff for logistics and engineering. He assumed last present command in June 1982.
The general was a command pilot with 5,600 flying hours. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Presidential Unit Citation emblem and Air Force Outstanding Unit Award ribbon with two oak leaf clusters.
He was promoted to General July 1, 1982.
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
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