Courtesy of the United States Air Force
MAJOR GENERAL TOM E. MARCHBANKS JR.
Retired January 31, 1971, Died March 1, 1975
Major General Tom E. Marchbanks Jr.,was chief of Air Force Reserve, Headquarters U.S. Air Force.
General Marchbanks was born in San Benito, Texas, in 1922. He graduated from Mercedes High School, Mercedes, Texas, in 1939 and attended Texas A&M College, College Station, Texas, from 1939 to 1942.
His Air Force career began in March 1942 when he entered the Army Air Corps Pilot Training Program at Lackland Field, Texas. He received his commission and pilot wings in January 1943. He was subsequently assigned to the Central Instructor's School, Kelly Field, for qualification as a two-engine instructor pilot. Upon completion, General Marchbanks was transferred to Blackland Army Air Field, Waco, Texas, where he served as squadron commander in the Pilot Training Program during the period February 1943 to June 1944. From June to November 1944 General Marchbanks received four-engine transition training.
In November 1944, he was assigned to the 601st Bombardment Squadron, Eighth Air Force, in England, where he served as squadron operations officer and as squadron commander. While serving in the European Theater of Operations, he participated in 35 combat missions with a total of 252 flying hours, earning a special commendation for meritorious service during this period.
Upon his return from overseas in June 1945, General Marchbanks was reassigned to the Central Instructor's School, Randolph Field, Texas, as operations officer. During this time he was appointed by the chief of staff of the Amy Air Forces to reaccomplish flying training manuals to include new operations development and techniques. He subsequently developed and published a manual establishing a landing planning system which is currently in use by the Air Force. He was later reassigned to Kelly Field, Texas, where he served as assistant to the base commander until his release from active duty in June 1946.
For the next five and one half years, June 1946 to December 1951, he was self employed in the construction field. During this period, the general continued his activity with the Air Force Reserve as staff operations officer with the Pilot Training Wing at Waco, Texas.
During the Korean War, General Marchbanks was recalled to active duty and served with the Fifth Air Force in Korea as squadron commander and director of combat operations, 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, and participated in more than 100 combat missions. He was assigned to several projects during this period and was personally cited for the successful accomplishment of these projects. They included the development of reconnaissance of capability for the F-86.
General Marchbanks became an active member of the 433rd Troop Carrier Wing, Air Force Reserve, upon its activation in 1953. He was assigned as commander of the wing on June 26, 1962. He is a command pilot.
On Dec. 14, 1967, General Marchbanks was nominated by the president of the United States to serve as the first chief, Air Force Reserve, in the Office of Air Force Reserve which was established by an Act of Congress effective Jan. 1, 1968. That nomination and the grade of major general was confirmed by the Senate on February 16, 1968.
His military decorations include Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with seven oak leaf clusters, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon, and Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation.
He was promoted to the temporary grade of Major General effective February 16, 1968, with date of rank Jan. 2, 1964.
Genreal Marchbanks was buried with full military honors in Section 11 of Arlington National Cemetery.
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.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard