September 27, 2005:
Brigadier General Thomas G. Bee, 79, a retired Air Force fighter pilot, died of prostate cancer September 10, 2005, at his home in Warrenton, Virginia.
General Bee was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and graduated from high school in Pennsboro, West Virginia. During World War II, he was a Navy pilot. He received his undergraduate degree in aeronautical engineering from Purdue University and was commissioned a second lieutenant through the Army ROTC program when he graduated in 1948.
Thomas G. Bee was a Navy pilot in World War II and later served as a jet fighter pilot in the Air Force. (Family Photo)
From 1948 to 1950, he was a pilot with United Airlines and then was called to active duty with the Air Force. After training as a jet fighter pilot, he completed 175 combat missions over Korea.
He returned to the United States in 1953 and served as a jet qualification instructor and aide-de-camp with the 3700th Military Training Wing at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. He also worked as an instructor at Williams Air Force Base in Arizona and as director of academic training with the 4530th Combat Crew Training Group. He received a master's degree in business administration from George Washington University in 1961.
He served with the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California before being transferred to Air Force headquarters in 1963. He worked in the office of the deputy chief of staff for research and development.
He flew combat operations in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968 and later was assigned to Headquarters Air Force Systems Command at Andrews Air Force Base. In 1971, he became assistant for requirements, development and acquisition programming in the office of the deputy chief of staff for research and development.
Promoted to general in 1974, he was the Air Force auditor general and commander of the Air Force Audit Agency from 1974 to 1976. He was deputy chief of staff and comptroller for Air Force Systems Command until his retirement in 1977.
His military decorations included a Silver Star, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross with one oak leaf cluster and a Bronze Star with one oak leaf cluster.
Before he retired from the Air Force, Gen. Bee's favorite hobby was building and racing sports cars. He and his wife also raised and trained thoroughbred racehorses.
Survivors include his wife of 50 years, Donna Bee of Warrenton; four daughters, Linda Bee of Freedom, Pennsylvania, Carol Bee-Latty of Chevy Chase, Lorie Balkom of Apopka, Florida, and Karen van Leer of Sudbury, Massachusetts; and five grandchildren.
BRIGADIER GENERAL THOMAS G. BEE
Retired July 1, 1977
Brigadier General Thomas G. Bee wass the Deputy Chief of Staff, Comptroller, Air Force Systems Command, Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland.
General Bee was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1926, and graduated from high school in Pennsboro, West Virginia. He received a bachelor of science degree from Purdue University in 1948, and a master's degree in business administration from The George Washington University in 1961.
During World War II, General Bee served in the U.S. Navy from November 1943 to September 1945 in both enlisted status and Navy pilot training. After his release from active duty, he entered Purdue University, Ind., and through the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps program was commissioned as a second lieutenant upon graduation in 1948. From 1948 to 1950, General Bee flew with United Airlines.
In May 1950 General Bee was called to active duty with the U.S. Air Force, entered flying school, and graduated as a jet fighter pilot at Williams Air Force Base, Arizona, in June 1951. He completed combat crew training at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, in September 1951. General Bee then was assigned to the Far East Air Forces and flew with the 35th Fighter-Interceptor Group, 49th Fighter-Bomber Group, 58th Fighter-Bomber Group, and the 4th Fighter-Interceptor Group. During the Korean War, he flew the F-80, F-84, and F-86 and completed 175 combat missions.
General Bee returned to the United States in November 1953 and was assigned to the Air Training Command as a jet qualification instructor and aide-de-camp with the 3700th Military Training Wing, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.
In February 1957 General Bee was transferred to Tactical Air Command at Williams Air Force Base, Arizona, as a fighter gunnery instructor with the 3529th Combat Crew Training Squadron, and in May 1959 became director of academic training with the 4530th Combat Crew Training Group. In August 1960 he entered The George Washington University under the Air Force Institute of Technology program and graduated in September 1961.
General Bee next was assigned to the Air Force Systems Command and served in Flight Test Operations with the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. In September 1963 he was transferred to Headquarters U.S. Air Force for duty in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Research and Development.
In October 1967 General Bee left for the Republic of Vietnam where he served in combat operations at Headquarters 7th Air Force, Tan Son Nhut Air Base. He returned to the United States in October 1968 and was assigned to Headquarters Air Force Systems Command, Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, as chief of program formulation and later became director of programs and budget. In March 1971 he was reassigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as assistant for requirements, development and acquisition programming in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Research and Development.
General Bee was the Air Force auditor general and commander, Air Force Audit Agency, at Norton Air Force Base, California, from December 1974 until May 1976, when he became deputy chief of staff, comptroller for Air Force Systems Command.
He is a command pilot. His military decorations and awards include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star Medal with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with 12 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Distinguished Unit Citation Emblem, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon, and the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon.
He was promoted to the grade of Brigadier General August 1, 1974, with date of rank July 17, 1974.
General Bee is to be laid to rest with full military honors in ArlingtonNational Cemetery on 7 November 2005.
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