Eugene W. Gauch, Jr. – Brigadier General, United States Air Force

Retired September 1, 1975.

Brigadier General Eugene W. Gauch Jr., was director of automated mobility requirements, Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, with duty station at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia.

General Gauch was born in 1922, in Newark, New Jersey. He graduated from Jefferson High School in Elizabeth, New Jersey, in 1941, attended Syracuse University, and is a graduate of the National War College, 1969.

In March 1943 he entered active military service with the Army Air Corps and as an aviation cadet attended pilot training and graduated as a flight officer from Pampa Army Air Force Base, Texas, in November 1944. After bomber crew training assignments at Liberal, Kansas; Tonapah, Nevada; and Walla Walla, Washington, he went to Okinawa and served with the 346th and 22d Bombardment Groups as a B-29 pilot. In June 1948 General Gauch returned to the United States and was assigned to the Air Training Command as an instructor for aviation cadets in single- and twin-engine aircraft at Randolph and Perrin Air Force bases, Texas, and Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. In July 1949 he was assigned to the 509th Bombardment Group of the Strategic Air Command, Walker Air Force Base, New Mexico.

He next was assigned to the Military Airlift Command in Japan; however, with the onset of the Korean War, he was transferred to the 19th Bombardment Group at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, and flew B-29 combat missions over Korea for which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters.

In February 1951 he was assigned as a pilot to the 306th Bombardment Wing, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, the first wing in the Air Force to receive the B-47 jet bomber. He was assigned to the 376th Bombardment Wing, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, from October 1953 to March 1955.

From April 1955 to November 1959, General Gauch held key staff positions at Strategic Air Command headquarters, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, where he was a training and standardization officer. He next was an operations staff officer for the jet bomber and tanker equipped 72d Bombardment Wing at Ramey Air Force Base, Puerto Rico. In June 1963 he was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., and was appointed assistant executive secretary to the Air Staff Board, Office of the Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

General Gauch served as assistant chief of staff and executive to the commander, Seventh Air Force, Tan Son Nhut Airfield, Republic of Vietnam, from April 1967 to April 1968. He earned two more oak leaf clusters to his Air Medal for flying combat support missions over hostile territory. From May 1968 to June 1969, he was at the National War College, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C., as a student and a member of the faculty.

General Gauch was transferred to Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, as executive to the commander in June 1969, and assigned the position of chief of staff in December 1970. In March 1972 General Gauch became commander of the 834th Air Division, Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas. In August 1974 General Gauch assumed duties as director of automated mobility requirements, Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, with duty station at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia.

His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Distinguished Unit Citation Emblem, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon, and the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon. He is a command pilot, qualified in both single- and multi-engine jet aircraft, with 6,000 flying hours.

General Gauch was promoted to the grade of Brigadier General effective February 1, 1972, with date of rank January 14, 1972.

Air Force general loved flying and serving community
By Mark Zaloudek
Courtesy of the Herald Tribune of Florida
Sunday, July 13, 2008

SARASOTA, Florida — After 32 years in the Air Force that included flying B-29 bombers during World War II and the Korean War, Brigadier General Gene Gauch retired to Sarasota, but continued his commitment of serving others.

Gauch, who died June 30 at age 85, held public office as a member of the Sarasota-Manatee Airport Authority from 1978 to 1982.

He won his first bid for elected office just three years after capping his military career in 1975 as a deputy chief of staff at the Air Combat Command headquarters in Virginia.

While serving on the governing board of Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, he opposed relocating the airport east of town and approved plans for the new terminal, which opened in 1989.

His second election bid was not as successful. He campaigned in 1982 to unseat incumbent Beverly Clay-Stackler on the Sarasota County Commission, but lost the primary to fellow Republican Jim Greenwald, who went on to win the election.

Throughout his life, Gauch was driven by a sense of duty and a desire to do things “by the book” and with integrity, said Vicky Urban, his companion for the past 13 years.

After leaving the military, he continued to fly recreationally and won an air race to the Bahamas in his Cessna 182 in the 1980s.

He founded the Flying Liars Club in the 1970s to enjoy the fellowship of current and former pilots in Southwest Florida over food and drinks once a month.

He also was past-president of the Bird Key Homeowners Association and a former editorial director of the Longboat Observer newspaper.

Born December 6, 1922, in Newark, New Jersey, Eugene Gauch attended Syracuse University before entering the Army Air Forces in 1943.

As a member of the 306th Bombardment Wing at MacDill Air Force Base in 1951, he was among the first pilots trained on the B-47 jet bomber.

During the Vietnam War, he served as assistant chief of staff and executive to the commander of the Seventh Air Force in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968.

He later served as chief of staff of the Tactical Air Command at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia and commander of the 834th Air Division at Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas. He also attended the National War College in 1969 as a student and instructor.

He was awarded several medals, including the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters.

He suffered from declining health from kidney and lung disease for the past couple of years.

He will be buried with high honors at Arlington National Cemetery on September 25, 2008.

In addition to his companion, he is survived by a daughter, Kathryn Stansfield of Rockledge.

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