Courtesy of the United States Air Force
BRIGADIER GENERAL ROBERT D. FORMAN
Retired March 1, 1966, Died June 19, 1971
Brigadier General Robert D. Forman, commander of the 1602d Air Transport Wing, Chateauroux Air Station, France, was one of MATS' leading experts on air transportation. He is responsible for all Military Air Transport Service airlift operations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
With airlift experience dating back to 1943, he flew the “Hump” between India and China during World War II, directed operations during the Berlin Airlift, and was responsible for the evacuation of wounded Marines from the Chosan Reservoir during the Korean War.
General Forman was born in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1911. He attended Southwestern University, Memphis, Tennessee, for two years and studied law at the University of Memphis for the following two years.
In 1938 he joined the Army Air Corps reserve, earned his pilot's wings and was commissioned a second lieutenant in September of 1939, going on active duty in September 1940.
The general trained flying cadets and instructed advanced pilots at Kelly Field, Texas. In 1943 he became a member of the Air Transport Command, the forerunner of the Military Air Transport Service.
Flying a B-24 from China to the Philippines in 19449 General Forman made the first flight of the war to establish a direct link between Chinese and American Forces. On his first flight he carried secret documents from General Chennault to General MacArthur.
In 1945 he was the chief pilot for the India-China Division of the Air Transport Command. The general was personally commended by General Tunner, former MATS commander, for his performance this job.
With the advent of the Berlin Blockade, he was sent to Germany to direct operations for the combined British and American forces during the Berlin Airlift. For his performance he was awarded the Legion of Merit “for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service …”
Subsequently he commanded a troop carrier group in Europe, but when the Korean War started he was sent to direct operations for the Combat Cargo Command in the Far East.
During the winter of 1950, General Forman was responsible for evacuating wounded Marines from the Chosan Reservoir in Korea. Flying C-47s, his unit successfully airlifted 4,600 casualties in five days. The general was himself trapped with the Marines for five days while the wounded were being evacuated. He received the Silver Star, a cluster to his Legion of Merit; and two clusters to his Distinguished Flying Cross for achievements during the Korean conf1ict.
Later he became deputy director of operations for MATS, commanded an air transport; group at Dover, Delaware, and in 1956 went to Evreux-Fauville, France, where he was base and wing commander. In September 1958, he was made commander of the 1611th Air Transport Wing, McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey.
Leaving McGuire, he assumed command of the 1602d Air Transport Wing at Chaeauroux, France, September 29, 1961.
General Forman is a command pilot with more than 9,200 hours in the air and more than 24 years of military service.
On retirement from active duty, General Forman was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.
Genreal Forman was buried with full military honors in Section 5 of Arlington National Cemetery.
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
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