Frederick Earl Calhoun – Brigadier General, United States Air Force

From a contemporary press report:

A retired Air Force Brigadier General, who served several tours of duty in the Washington area, died at his home in Santa Rosa, California, October 23, 1997 after a long illness. He was 90 years of age.

General Calhoun was born in Creston, North Carolina, in 1907, but moved while a young boy to Elk Creek, Grayson County, in southwest Virginia. He was always interested in radio and built the first set in the county while a teenager. Later, as an Air Corps officer, his interest in radio was responsible for his being involved in the very earliest experiments with radio-controlled pilotless aircraft.

General Calhoun graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute (now University) in 1928 with a degree in civil engineering. In early 1929, he was appointed a flying cadet and was commissioned in the Army Air Corps. A highlight of his early career was flying the mail over the Great Plains during the winter, a hazardous undertaking in its day which cost many lives.

During WWII, General Calhoun trained pilots in aerial reconnaissance and was commander of Will Rogers Field in Oklahoma City. He was assigned as Chief of Staff for Operations of the 7th Air Force as the war in the Pacific ended.

Later, he served on Guam as Assistant Chief for Material of the 20th Air Force and Commander of Anderson Air Force Base. After promotion to Brigadier General in 1952, his assignments were primarily in the education field, including being the Deputy Commandant of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Fort McNair, and, from 1957 until his retirement in 1960, Vice-Commandant of the Air War College and Commandant of the Air Command and Staff College in Montgomery, AL. General Calhoun was awarded the Legion of Merit for his leadership in those last posts, where he was known for challenging students by introducing them to points of view frequently at odds with established military orthodoxy.

Interment with full military honors will be at Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday, November 13, 1997 at 11 a.m.

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