Kenneth Crawford Dempster – Major General, United States Air Force

Courtesy of the United States Air Force

Retired February 1, 1975, Died December 25, 1983

Major General Kenneth Crawford Dempster was deputy chief of staff for logistics for North American Air Defense Command/Continental Air Defense Command/Aerospace Defense Command which has its consolidated headquarters at Ent Air Force Base, Colorado.

General Dempster was born in Gardnerville, Nevada, in 1917, and moved to California in 1925. He graduated from Palo Alto High School, Palo Alto, California, in 1935; from San Mateo Junior College, San Mateo, California, in 1937; and later, attended the University of California at Berkeley, from 1937-1940, majoring in forestry. In May 1940
he entered aviation cadet training and received his pilot wings and commission as second lieutenant at Kelly Field, Texas, in December 1940.

He next was assigned as pilot with the 34th Bombardment Squadron of the 17th Bombardment Group at McChord Field, Wash. He went to Alaska in January 1941 after volunteering to fill a vacancy in the 73d Bombardment Squadron which was the first flying unit assigned to Elmendorf Field at Anchorage. During World War II, he participated in antisubmarine patrolling out of Nome and flew combat missions against the Japanese in the Aleutian Islands from May 1942 to January 1943. These missions included attacks against the Japanese fleet attacking Dutch Harbor and against Japanese shipping and installations on Kiska. General Dempster was awarded the Air Medal for low-level attacks in Kiska Harbor in September 1942 where he sank a Japanese freighter.

He returned to the United States in 1943 and was assigned to MacDill Field, Florida, as a squadron commander and later operations officer of the 397th Bombardment Group. He went to the European Theater of Operations where he flew B-26 aircraft on missions from bases in England and France from February through December 1944. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Air Medal with eight oak leaf clusters. In January 1945 he was assigned to Headquarters Ninth Air Force in Europe where he was chief of combat operations and then deputy for operations and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal.

General Dempster became chief of bombardment training of the newly organized Tactical Air Command at Langley Field, Virginia, in 1946, and later served as chief of training. He entered the Air Command and Staff School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, in January 1949 and after graduation was assigned as chief of flying training,
Continental Air Command, Mitchel Air Force Base, New York.

During the Korean War in July 1950, he became deputy for operations of the newly activated 452d Bombardment Wing at George Air Force Base, California, and moved with the wing to Japan. He flew combat missions in Korea and received the Legion of Merit. In January 1951 he was assigned as deputy for operations, Fifth Air Force, Korea.

In March 1952 General Dempster returned to the United States and was assigned as a member of the Joint Tactical Air Support Board at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In August 1954 he entered the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, and graduated in June 1955. From July 1955 to July 1957, he was deputy assistant chief of staff for operations and then chief of staff for operations, Ninth Air Force, Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina.

In July 1957 he was transferred to the 17th Bombardment Wing at Hurlburt Field, Florida, as deputy commander and later served as commander. During this assignment, he led the first nonstop flight of B-66 aircraft from Hurlburt Field to Alconbury Air Base, England. He was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal during this period.

In July 1958 General Dempster went to Sculthorpe, England, as deputy commander of the 47th Bombardment Wing and early in 1959 became commander. During this period, the wing was the first organization to receive an outstanding rating for a tactical evaluation by the U.S. Air Forces in Europe inspection team. This rating was repeated twice and the wing was awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. General  Dempster received the first oak leaf cluster to the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Legion of Merit during this command.

He was assigned in December 1961 to the U.S. Strike Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, where he served as deputy for operations. In September 1964 he was transferred to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as deputy director of operational requirements in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Programs and Requirements, and assumed duties as director in July 1966. He became vice commander, Thirteenth Air Force (Pacific Air Forces), with headquarters at Clark Air Base, Republic of the Philippines, in November 1967.

General Dempster became assistant director for plans, programs and systems, Defense Supply Agency, Cameron Station, Alexandria, Virginia, in July 1970. He assumed duties as chief of staff for logistics for North American Defense Command/Continental Air Defense Command/Aerospace Defense Command which has its consolidated headquarters at Ent Air Force Base, Colorado, in August 1973.

In addition to the decorations mentioned above, he has been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, three more oak leaf clusters to his Legion of Merit, and the Korean Order of Ulchi with silver star. He is a command pilot.

He was promoted to the grade of Major General effective September 15, 1966, with date of rank July 1, 1961.

General Dempster was buried with full military honors in Section 59 of Arlington National Cemetery.

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