Richard August Grussendorf – Major General, United States Air Force

Courtesy of the United States Air Force:

Retired July 16, 1971, Died March 22, 1999

Major General Richard A. Grussendorf was chief, Office of Air Force History, Office of the Chief of Staff, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.

General Grussendorf was born in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, in 1906. He graduated from high school at Lodi, California, in 1924 and from the University of California in 1928 with a bachelor of arts degree.

He began his military career in February 1929 as an aviation cadet and entered flying school at March Field, California. He graduated one year later from advanced flying school at Kelly Field, Texas, and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Army Air Reserve. He received his regular commission as a second lieutenant in the Army Air Corps in May 1930 while serving with the 18th Pursuit Group at Wheeler Field, Hawaii.

In May 1930 he was transferred to the 8th Pursuit Group at Langley Field, Virginia, and served as flight commander of the 33rd Pursuit Squadron. During this tour of duty he and other members of the 8th Pursuit Group were assigned to provide an administrative cadre to open a camp in Fall River, Massachusetts, for a Civilian Conservation Corps company of World War I veterans. Also while assigned to the Group, he was an air mail pilot and flew the Army's first mail airplane, a P-12, from Newark, New Jersey, to Cleveland, Ohio. In June 1934 he resumed squadron duties at Langley Field, Virginia.

He entered the Air Corps Technical School at Chanute Field, Illinois, in August 1936. After graduating the following June, he became flight commander of the 95th Attack Squadron at March Field, California. From January to March 1940 he attended the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field, Alabama, and then returned to March Field.

In June 1940 he went to the Philippine Islands as operations officer of the 4th Composite Group at Nichols Field. He served in that position until July 1941 when he was appointed Military Attache for Air at the American Embassy in Chungking, China. During the invasion of Hong Kong he was imprisoned by the Japanese.

Following his release in August 1942 he returned to the United States and was assigned to Headquarters Army Air Forces, Washington, D.C. He served first as chief of the Allocations and Priorities Division in the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations and later as executive officer of the Requirements Division.

During October and November 1943 he attended the School of Applied Tactics at Orlando, Florida, and then was appointed executive officer of the Los Angeles Fighter Wing in California. In March 1944 he was assigned as commander of the Advanced Flying School at Santa Maria, California.

General Grussendorf was transferred to the Pacific Theater of Operations in January 1945 as chief of the Personnel Division of the Air Forces in the Pacific Ocean Area at Honolulu, Hawaii. He became chief of the Personnel Division of
the U.S. Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific, on Guam, in July and two months later was assigned as chief of staff of the 7th Fighter Wing in Honolulu. He became commander of the wing in April 1946.

He returned to the United States in June 1947 and entered the Air War College at Maxwell Field, Alabama. He next served as Air Force member of the National Security Council staff. He attended the National War College, Washington, D.C.,
from August 1949 to August 1950 and then was selected as executive to General Vandenberg, Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

In July 1953 he became commander of the Tenth Air Force, at Selfridge Air Force Base, Michigan. He remained in that position until August 1955 when he became commander of the Sixth Allied Tactical Air Force at Izmir, Turkey, a component of Allied Air Forces Southern Europe, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.

He returned to the United States in July 1957 and was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as assistant chief of staff for reserve forces. He became director, Secretary of the Air Force Personnel Council, in August 1959 and served for one year. He retired from active duty in July 1960 and remained in retired status until January 1969 when he was recalled to assume his present duties as chief, Office of Air Force History.

He is a command pilot, combat observer, aircraft observer and technical observer. His military decorations include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster; Army Commendation Medal; and Knight Commander, Order of Phoenix (Greece).


Grussendorf, Richard August,

  • Born 19 March 1906
  • Died  22 March 1999
  • US Air Force, Major General
  • Residence: Powell, Ohio,
  • Plot: 6-M 1 1
  • Buried: 11 June 1999

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