Douglas Blakeshaw Netherwood, Jr. – Colonel, United States Air Force

Courtesy of his classmates, United States Military Academy:

Douglas Blakeshaw Netherwood, Jr.
No. 13233  •  8 May 1920 – 19 July 1963
Died at McLean, Virginia, aged 43 years
Interment: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia


DOUGLAS BLAKESHAW NETHERWOOD, Jr. was born in Dallas, Texas, on 8 May 1920, the son of Brigadier General (then Major) Douglas Blakeshaw Netherwood, one of the nation’s earliest pilots. He lived on various posts throughout the United States and the Philippines and graduated from Augusta Military Academy in 1938.

After graduating from USMA, and until 1947, he served in the China-Burma-India Theater. During this time he prepared and rendered advice to the Research and Development Division, Chinese Combined Services Forces. Although assigned duties outside the field of his prior military specialization, and through his hard study, painstaking efforts, and long hours, he greatly assisted the general staff, Chinese Combined Services Forces. For this he  was awarded the Army-Navy-Air Force Medal, Republic of China an the Breast Order of Yun Hui, with ribbon, Republic of China.

Returning to the United States, Doug transferred to the Air Force and was assigned to the Strategic Air Command. This assignment with SAC took him to bases throughout the United States, Goose Bay, Labrador, and to Okinawa during the Korean conflict. In these assignments he had many duties in the field of communications: base communications officer, communications engineering officer, etc.

Deciding that he had had his fill of temporary duty, and always anxious to study, Doug applied to USAFIT, was accepted, and reported to Wright Patterson AFB, where in 1957, he graduated with his master’s in engineering. Thereafter until 1959 he had duties with Research and Development at Wright Patterson.

Still, Doug, who was lovingly nicknamed “the brain” and the “Genius” by his friends, was not content with the little knowledge he felt he possessed.  So, with that constant desire to learn more, and with his love of studying,  he was sent to the University of Michigan. There he received his doctorate  in communications sciences. His next, and last, assignment was to Air Force Headquarters in the Pentagon. There he was in charge of the computer section, under the Directorate of Science and Technology until his death on 19 July 1963.

The days and nights were just never long enough for all of Doug’s many interests, nor were his only brief encounters. Each hobby was methodically studied and researched, and in Doug’s case they included chess, hi-fi, bridge, photography, inventing games, woodworking, and collecting stamps, coins, and butterflies. He built his own sailboat and sailed it for several years while he was stationed in Tampa. His home was filled with his own paintings, and his homemade furniture adorned his home. Doug played piano, flute, and guitar and composed music for all three. In addition, he wrote poetry, novels, and several articles that were published in scientific journals. And, yet, with all those numerous pursuits, he always had time for hikes, picnics, trips, and games with his children in the backyard pool, which he himself had designed and built, and in which he accidentally drowned.

Doug is survived by his wife Anne and seven children — Douglas, 20, who is working at the Pentagon; Marshall, 12; Jay Steven, 11; Patricia, 9; twins Paul and Bruce, 6; and Margaret, 15 months — all of whom are living with their mother in Montreal, Canada.

We will always remember Doug as a true friend, an honorable soldier, a good son, a loving father, and an ideal husband. But, most of all, we are grateful — grateful for the years we shared together with him. Those too-short years were happy ones filled with patience, understanding guidance, kindness, thoughtfulness, love, and laughter which Doug so generously gave to all of us.

“The gift of God is eternal life.” — Romans 6:23

— Anne Netherwood, wife

DATE OF BIRTH: 05/08/1920
DATE OF DEATH: 07/19/1963

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