George J. Keegan, Jr. – Major General, United States Air Force

Courtesy of the United States Air Force

Retired January 1, 1977, Died March 3, 1993

Major General George J. Keegan Jr., was the assistant chief of staff, Intelligence, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.

General Keegan was born in 1921, in Houlton, Maine, and graduated from Van Buren Boys High School in Van Buren, Maine. He graduated from Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., with a bachelor of arts degree in 1947, and received his master’s degree in international affairs from The George Washington University in 1965. He entered active military service in February 1943. Upon completion of aviation cadet pilot training he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in February 1944.

He received his operational training as a B-25 pilot at Columbia, S.C. He went to New Guinea in August 1944 and flew a combat tour of duty with the 405th Bombardment Squadron in the South Pacific area where he earned the Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters. He was released from active military duty in December 1945, became a member of the Reserve and returned to Harvard College.

In November 1947 General Keegan returned to active duty and served as a B-29 pilot and combat intelligence staff officer in Guam, Okinawa and Japan. In May 1950 he was transferred to Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, where he served with the Ninth Air Force and later was chief of Combat Intelligence, Headquarters Tactical Air Command.

From April 1953 to June 1957, General Keegan was assigned as chief of the Special Studies Group, Directorate of Intelligence, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. During that period he was the author of several major studies on Soviet science, education and strategy; lectured extensively at all of the nation’s war colleges; served as a member of Secretary Stassen’s Disarmament Staff in the White House; was Air Force liaison officer on Senator Symington’s Defense Hearings; and later was an aide at the White House.

His next duties were with the Strategic Air Command. He served at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, from June 1957 to April 1961. First, as a B-47 aircraft commander in the 359th Bombardment Squadron and later as commander of the 360th and 359th Bombardment Squadrons. He was director of operations for the SAC Eielson Task Force in Alaska during 1959-1960. In March 1960 he moved to the 303d Bombardment Wing
where he served as acting vice commander and in a number of staff and flying positions. General Keegan was assigned to Headquarters Strategic Air Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., in April 1961, as deputy chief and later chief of the Air Estimates Division, Directorate of Intelligence.

In August 1964 he entered the National War College, Washington, D.C., and after graduation in July 1965 was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations, as deputy assistant for joint matters, assistant for joint and national security council matters. In July 1966 he was transferred to the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as special assistant for joint matters to the director, Joint Staff.

General Keegan was transferred to the Republic of Vietnam in December 1967 and served as deputy chief of staff, Intelligence, Seventh Air Force. In July 1969 he became deputy chief of staff, Intelligence, for Headquarters Pacific Command in Hawaii.

In August 1970 General Keegan assumed duties as deputy chief of staff, Plans and Operations, Headquarters Air Force Logistics Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

General Keegan became assistant chief of staff, Intelligence, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, in March 1972.

His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters, and Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon. He is a command pilot with more than 3,400 flying hours in both conventional and jet aircraft. In World War II, he flew 56 combat missions in B-25 aircraft in six campaigns from New Guinea to Okinawa. He was awarded the
Distinguished Service Cross by the Republic of Vietnam for his planning of the defense of Khe Sanh during the TET offensive of 1968.

General Keegan’s hometown is Van Buren, Maine.

He was promoted to the temporary grade of major general effective Sept. 1, 1969, with date of rank July 1, 1965, and to the permanent grade of major general effective April 2, 1973, with date of rank Sept. 1, 1969.

General Keegan was buried with full military honors in Section 60, Grave 1935, Arlington National Cemetery.


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