Lee McQuerter Paschall – Lieutenant General, United States Air Force

Courtesy of the United States Air Force


Retired August 1, 1978. Died December 17, 2006.

Lieutenant General Lee McQuerter Paschall was director, Defense Communications Agency. As director, General Paschall was responsible for the management and direction of the worldwide Defense Communications System. He is also responsible for the system engineering and technical support to the National Military Command System and for provision of technical support to the worldwide military command and control standard automatic data processing systems.

In his capacity as manager, National Communications System, he was responsible for providing effective direction to the worldwide National Communications System, which includes the communications facilities of the various federal agencies. The director, DCA, is also chairman, Military Communications-Electronics Board, providing a liaison point for joint and international communications matters.

General Paschall was born in Sterling, Colorado He graduated from Phoenix Union High School in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1939, and attended the University of Colorado. As a member of the Colorado National Guard, he was ordered to active military duty in September 1940.

During World War II, he served in the 45th Infantry Division as a Technical Sergeant, battalion communications chief, until commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, Infantry, in June 1942. During the next three years, he performed various duties in Infantry communications in the United States, and the European Theater of Operations. In 1946 he returned to inactive military status and was employed as a communications engineer with the Colorado Air National Guard.

During the Korean War, he returned to active military duty in March 1951 as director of operations, 159th Air Control and Warning Group, and subsequently was assigned to the 33d Air Division at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, as director of training. He completed the Communications-Electronics Officer Course at the Air Command and Staff School in December 1951. He served in French Morocco as director of operations for the 1815th Airways and Air Communications Group from March 1952 until August 1953 when he was assigned to the Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, on the U.S. Air Force Communications-Electronics Doctrine Research Project. In 1957, after a six-month sabbatical, he graduated from the University of Alabama as a Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor of arts degree in history. In June 1958 he was transferred to France and served at Headquarters Allied Forces Central Europe, NATO, as chief, Signals Coordination Division.

In May 1959 General Paschall was assigned to Headquarters Air Defense Command (redesignated Aerospace Defense Command), Ent Air Force Base, Colorado, and was responsible for leased communications procurement for Air Defense Command. This assignment evolved into the leased communications procurement responsibility for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Federal Aviation Agency with the formation of the Defense Commercial Communications Office in January 1963.

General Paschall attended the Air War College from July 1963 to June 1964. He received a master of arts degree in international affairs from The George Washington University in 1964. He then was assigned to the Defense Communications Agency, first as assistant director for Defense Communications System Programs and Requirements and then as executive officer to the deputy director for the Defense Communications System. In July 1967 he became commander of the United Kingdom Communications Region (Air Force Communication Service).

In August 1968 General Paschall was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as deputy director of Command Control and Communications, and in July 1971 he became director. On July 30, 1974, he assumed duties as director, Defense Communications Agency.

He was promoted to the grade of Lieutenant General on August 1, 1974, with date of rank July 30, 1974.

Lee M. Paschall, 84, a Lieutenant General who was considered the father of modern command, control, communications and computers in the Air Force, died of heart ailments December 17, 2006, at Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City, California, while visiting a daughter. He lived in McLean, Virginia.

General Paschall was director of the Defense Communications Agency (now the Defense Information Systems Agency) from 1974 to 1978, responsible for worldwide communications of the military and top civilian leaders.

“He really was a major force in shaping how telecommunications played in the areas of command and control,” said Otto Hoernig, who worked with Gen. Paschall in the Air Force and in his post-retirement career. “He recognized that reliable telecommunications, down to the lowest echelon, was the most important thing to military operations.”

Although his career predated the modern era of personal desktop computers, General Paschall saw the impending revolutionary changes in communications and information technology, and he set up systems and training that enabled the military to take advantage of those changes.

“I think he, and all of us at the top, understood what was coming because we had contact with [the] best visionaries” in the field, said Robert L. Edge, a retired Major General who worked with General Paschall. “We didn't expect the revolution to come as fast as it has.”

General Paschall, who worked in military communications “from the bugle call days,” as Edge said, continued working in the field after his active-duty retirement in 1978. He became president, then chief executive and chairman, of Fairchild's American Satellite Company in Rockville during the 1980s, when the company became profitable for the first time. He retired a second time in 1985 and continued to serve on corporate boards such as those of General DataCom Industries, Thales Communications Inc., Radiation Systems Inc. and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp.

He was a native of Sterling, Colorado, and entered the military in 1939 through the Colorado National Guard, serving in the Army in Europe during World War II.

After the war, he returned to the National Guard as a communications engineer and was recalled to active duty during the Korean War. Subsequent posts included Morocco, France, the United Kingdom and several stints at the Pentagon.

First assigned to the Defense Communications Agency in 1964, he helped integrate the fields of command, control, communications and computers, Hoernig said.

Although General Paschall spent almost all of his career in communications, that was not typical of other officers, who came to the field in mid-career, Edge said. Because of the need to find and train talented officers, General Paschall became a mentor to many of the officers who worked under him.

He graduated from the University of Alabama and received a master's degree in international affairs from George Washington University in 1964.

In 1999, General Paschall was the first person elected to the Air Force Communications and Information Hall of Fame. An award for the top student in each Advanced Communications and Information Officer Training class at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi is named for him.

Among his military awards are the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal and two awards of the Legion of Merit.

His wife of 62 years, Bonnie Paschall, died in 2005.

Survivors include two children, Patricia Grillos, of Atherton, California, and Stephen Paschall, of Englewood, Colorado; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 03/02/1923
  • DATE OF DEATH: 03/02/2005

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