Thomas Norville Wilson – Major General, United States Air Force


Retired August 1, 1969

Major General Thomas Norville Wilson was deputy director of plans, Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. The Directorate of Plans is responsible for Air Staff positions on joint Chiefs of Staff matters; unilateral and joint war planning; policy guidance; and political-military planning. As deputy director of plans, General Wilson acted for the director of plans in supervising and directing the major functional activities of the directorate, consisting of the Deputy Director of Plans for War Plans, Deputy Director of Plans for Policy, and Assistant Director of Plans for Joint and National Security Council Matters.

General Wilson was born in Trinidad, Colorado, in 1917. He was commissioned through the Reserve Officers Training Corps as a Second Lieutenant, Cavalry, in June 1938 and graduated from the University of Arizona the following year with a bachelor of science degree in engineering.

In March 1941 he went on active duty and was assigned to the 1st Armored Division, Fort Knox, Kentucky. He transferred to the Army Air Corps and completed pilot training at Kelly Field, Texas. The general was then assigned to Newfoundland as senior aide-de-camp to the commanding general, Newfoundland Base Command. In December 1943 he returned to the United States and was assigned as a pilot with the 481st Night Fighter Operations Training Group.

In March 1944 he joined the 427th Night Fighter Squadron and accompanied it to the European Theater of Operations and later to the China-Burma-India Theater. He served as operations officer and commander of the squadron and participated in 67 combat missions for which he received the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with oak leaf cluster.

After his return to the United States in July 1945, General Wilson served with Air Defense Command organizations. From July 1945 through July 1950, with the exception of 22 weeks as a student at the Air Command and Staff School, he was stationed at Mitchel Air Force Base, New York, in ADC Operations. In July 1950 he continued his ADC operation staff duties with Headquarters 25th Air Division, McChord Air Force Base, Washington, serving as deputy for operations from November 1951 until his departure in February 1953 for the Armed Forces Staff College.

During August 1953 General Wilson began his third tour of duty overseas. He served in Greece where he was deputy for operations, Air Force Section, Joint U.S. Military Advisory Group.

Upon his return to the United States in February 1956, the General again joined ADC and served with the 4708th Air Defense Wing. In August 1956 he was transferred to Wurtsmith Air Force Base, Michigan, and served as commander of the 412th Fighter Group for the next three years.

In August 1959 General Wilson entered the National War College in Washington, D.C., and in July 1960 graduated and was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. He first served as assistant chief, then chief, Combined Plans Division; assistant deputy director and later as deputy director of plans for war plans.

He was assigned in August 1964 to command Air Task Force Thirteen (Provisional) with headquarters at Taipei Air Station, Taiwan. (Air Task Force 13 (P) was redesignated as the 327th Air Division effective February 1966.) In addition to his Air Division Command, General Wilson served as chief of the Air Force Section, Military Assistance Advisory Group to the Republic of China and the air component commander for the sub-unified command headquarters, Taiwan Defense Command.

In August 1966 General Wilson was assigned as deputy chief of staff for plans, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces. He assumed duties in October 1967 as the deputy director of plans, Deputy Chief of Staff/Plans and Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force.

He is a rated command pilot and has been awarded the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal and the Army Commendation Medal.

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