MAJOR GENERAL ROBERT WILLIAM STRONG JR.
Died March 16,2006
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Major General Robert William Strong Jr., is chief of staff of the Eighth Air Force, Westover Air Force Base, Mass. In this position, he bears a large share of the responsibility for the efficient management of the Strategic Air Command's largest numbered Air Force.
General Strong was born in Painesville, Ohio, in 1917. As a graduate of the Valley Forge Military Academy, Wayne, Pa., the general entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in July 1936 on a presidential appointment. He graduated from West Point and was commissioned a second lieutenant in June 1940.
The general began flight training in October 1940 and received his pilot wings at Kelly Field, Texas, in September 1941. After advanced training in bomber aircraft he was assigned in December 1941 as operations officer for the 41st Bomb Group, Hammer Field, Calif., and later as operations officer for the 47th Bomb Squadron at Visalia, Calif.
In August 1942 he was transferred to Topeka, Kan., as operations officer for the 333rd Bomb Group, and later moved to Salina, Kan., as operations officer for the 346th Bomb Group. His next assignment came in January 1943 when he took command of Salina's 504th Bomb Squadron.
Moving back to Topeka in March 1943 the general became assistant operations officer for the 2nd Heavy Bombardment Processing Headquarters where he served until February 1944. At that time he was reassigned as air inspector for the 3rd Heavy Bombardment Processing Headquarters, also at Topeka, and later held the same position in Topeka's 272nd Base Unit.
June 1944 found General Strong back at Salina in command of the 62nd Bomb Squadron which he led to the Southwest Pacific Theater of Operations. He later moved up to command of the 39th Bomb Group based on the island of Guam. During this time the general logged 200 combat hours flying the B-29 Superfortress in raids over Japan.
Returning to the States in October 1945 the general served as a tactical officer at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point until July 1948. He then became assistant air attache to Canada until August 1952 when he entered the Naval War College at Newport, R.I.
Upon graduation from the War College in June 1953 the general was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force in Washington, D.C., where he served with the Deputy Directorate of Targets until August 1956.
The general began his service with SAC in August 1956 as director of operations for the 4th Air Division, Barksdale Air Force Base, La. He served in this capacity until May 1957, when he was named commander of the 376th Bomb Wing at Barksdale. In October 1957 he moved to McCoy Air Force Base, Fla., as commander of the 321st Bomb Wing where he remained until July 1959 when he took command of the 4082d Strategic Wing at Goose Air Base, Labrador.
Returning to the United States in November 1961, General Strong became commander of the 825th Strategic Aerospace Division, Little Rock, Ark. He remained at Little Rock until March 1963 when he was assigned as commandant of cadets, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo.
General Strong returned to SAC in July 1965 as commander of the 817th Air Division, Pease Air Force Base, N.H., where he served until his present assignment as chief of staff, Eighth Air Force, in July 1966.
His decorations include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal and the Army Commendation Medal.
(Current as of Dec. 1, 1966)