Romulus Wright Puryear – Major General, United States Air Force

Courtesy of the United States Air Force

Retired August 1, 1967 – Died June 16, 1984

Major General Romulus Wright Puryear was the commander of the Keesler Technical Training Center, the “Electronics Training Center of the U.S. Air Force.” He came to this Air Training Command installation from South Ruislip, England, where he was commander, Third Air Force, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, and chief, Military Advisory Assistance Group, United Kingdom.

General Puryear was born in Hartsville, Tennessee, in 1911. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy June 10, 1932 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Regular Army. After completion of flight training at Randolph and Kelly fields, Texas in 1933, he was transferred to the Army Air Corps and assigned duties as a fighter pilot with the 20th Pursuit Group at Barksdale Field, Louisiana. From May 1937 to July 1941, he served with the 18th Pursuit Group in Hawaii and the 8th Pursuit Group at Langley Field, Virginia, and Mitchel Field, New York.

In July 1941, General Puryear (then major), commanded the 33rd Pursuit Squadron during its deployment to Iceland via the USS Wasp. He then served until August 1942, as operations and executive officer of the Air Task Force, Iceland Base Command, when he returned to the U.S. and was assigned with the Fighter Tactics and Training Office, Headquarters Army Air Force, Washington, D.C. In August 1943, General Puryear (then colonel), became commander of the Los Angeles Fighter Wing. He assumed command of the 86th Fighter Wing in December and manned and led its deployment to New Guinea in March 1944.

In September 1944 Colonel Puryear returned to Drew Field, Florida, where he served as chief of staff of the Third Fighter Command. He was awarded his command pilot's wings in July 1945. He then served a year with headquarters of the Air University at Maxwell Field, Alabama, and in September 1947 was assigned to Guam as chief of staff, 20th Air Force, and later as commander of the 23rd Fighter Wing.

Returning to the U.S. in March 1949, he served with the Directorate of Plans and Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, until 1952 when he assumed command of the 33rd Air Division (Defense), Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. In September 1954, General Puryear moved to McChord Air Force Base, Washington, as commander of the 25th Air Division (Defense). From August 1957 to June 1961 he served as deputy chief of staff for operations and as chief of staff, Air Defense Command.

Returning overseas in July 1961, General Puryear served as chief of staff at Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe, until August 1962, when he assumed command of the Third Air Force, a NATO-committed force having both nuclear and conventional capability and comprising four tactical wings located on seven bases in England and one in France.


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