John Henry Herring, Jr. – Major General, United States Air Force

Courtesy of the United States Air Force


Retired March 1, 1973, Died November 15, 1987

Major General John Henry Herring Jr., was commander of the 839th Air Division with headquarters at Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina.

General Herring was born in Trenton, New Jersey, in 1920. He studied aeronautical engineering at the Casey Jones School of Aeronautics, Newark, New Jersey, from which he graduated in 1938. After working three years as an aeronautical engineer with Sealand Aircraft Company, East Orange, New Jersey, and the Glenn L. Martin Company, Baltimore, Maryland, General Herring entered military service in October 1941. He attended primary, basic and advanced flying schools in the Southeast Flying Training Center area and received his pilot wings and commission as a second lieutenant at Moody Army Air Base, Valdosta, Georgia, in May 1942.

During World War II, he served a year and a half as a transport pilot and operations officer with the 8th Troop Carrier Squadron, in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations where he participated in the North African and Sicilian invasion operations.

From March 1944 until April 1947, General Herring was commander of the 334th Troop Carrier Squadron in Puerto Rico after which he was assigned to the 316th Troop Carrier Group at Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina, and later Greenville, South Carolina. He attended the Air Tactical School in 1948, and the Air Command and Staff School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, in 1949. In December 1949 he was assigned to the 314th Troop Carrier Wing at Sewart Air Force Base, Tennessee.

During the Korean War from September 1950 to June 1951, General Herring was active in planning the airborne and airdrop resupply operations of the Far East Air Forces Combat Cargo Command. He returned from Japan and went to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he was assigned to the Doctrine Division of the Joint Air Transportation Board.

He remained in this position until July 1954, when he was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as deputy chief, Transport Branch, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations. During the three years General Herring spent on the Air Staff he was the transport operations project officer on the Distant Early Warning line construction. In this capacity, he planned and coordinated the airlift of supplies and equipment into numerous sea ice landing strips along the north coasts of Alaska and Canada. He attended the Air War College from August 1957 to August 1958.

General Herring next was transferred to the Pacific Air Forces, and served in Japan with the 483d Troop Carrier Wing as director of operations and then wing commander. In July 1960 he became deputy for operations, 315th Air Division.

He returned to the United States in August 1961 and was assigned to Headquarters Ninth Air Force, Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, as assistant deputy for operations and later deputy for operations. In August 1963 he was transferred to Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, where he served for two years as director of operational plans.

General Herring returned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force in September 1965 as deputy director for general purpose and airlift studies in the Directorate of Studies and Analysis and in August 1966 assumed duties as deputy assistant chief of staff for studies and analysis. In August 1968 General Herring was appointed commander of the 438th Military Airlift Wing (MAC), McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey.

In June 1969 he was transferred to the Republic of Vietnam and assumed command of the 834th Air Division based at Tan Son Nhut Airfield, Saigon. The 834th Air Division operates all tactical airlift in the Republic of Vietnam.

General Herring was appointed commander of the 839th Air Division, Tactical Air Command, with Headquarters at Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina, in June 1971.

His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal; Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters; Distinguished Flying Cross; Meritorious Service Medal; Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters; Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster; Army Commendation Medal; Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon; the Vietnamese Air Force Distinguished Service Order, First Class, and Air Service Medal.

He was promoted to the temporary grade of Major General effective February 26, 1971, with date of rank October 13, 1966.

General Herring was buried with full military honors in Section 3 of Arlington National Cemetery.

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