Died October 23,1983
Edward H. Underhill was born in New Brunswick, Canada, in 1907. He moved to Boston, Mass., where he graduated from the Mechanical Arts School in 1924 and from the Lowell Institute in 1927.
General Underhill was appointed an aviation cadet in October, 1927, and a year later, upon graduation from flying school, was rated a pilot, commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Reserve, and assigned to active duty. He received his regular commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps in May 1929. During the first ten years of his military career, he received the peacetime assignments then afforded an Air Corps Officer, including duty as an engineering officer, flying instructor and squadron commander, and graduated from the Air Corps Technical School. One of those years he spent in the Panama Canal Zone as commanding officer of the 24th Pursuit Squadron.
In 1939 General Underhill became director of flying of the Air Corps Advanced Flying School at Brooks Field, Texas. In March 1942, he was appointed executive officer at that station. The following May he assumed command of the Army Air Force Glider School at Dalhart, Texas. In January 1943, he was named director of training at the Army Air Force Central Instructor School at Randolph Field, Texas, and the following November assumed command of Brooks Field, Texas. In April 1944, he became commander of Liberal (Kansas) Army Air Field.
General Underhill was assigned to the South Pacific Theater in August 1945, to become assistant chief of staff of the Fifth Air Force. In April 1946, he assumed command of the Third Bomb Group in that theater. He was appointed commander of the 314th Composite Wing in the South Pacific in January 1947.
In May 1948, General Underhill returned to the Zone of Interior and the following August entered the National War College from which he graduated in June 1949. He then became deputy director of military personnel at Air Force Headquarters. In October 1950, he became acting director and was appointed director in November 1950. Two months later he again became deputy director of military personnel.
Having received his temporary and permanent promotion to brigadier general in 1950 and 1951, respectively, General Underhill left for Japan and the post of deputy for personnel, Headquarters Far Eastern Air Forces in December 1951. Nine months later he became the 5th Air Force's vice commander in Korea.
Appointment to director of the Joint Air Tactical Support Board, Pope Air Force Base, N.C., followed his Korean tour of duty in September of 1953. Within a year, he was named vice commander, Air Training Command, and promoted to major general.
In April 1957, General Underhill assumed the dual command of Eastern Air Defense Force and Eastern North American Air Defense Region, formerly known as Continental Air Defense Command Forces, Eastern CONAD Region, with headquarters at Stewart Air Force Base, N.Y.
Following this, he was assigned as senior Air Force member to the Military Studies and Liaison Division, Weapons Systems Evaluation Group, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Aug. 12, 1959.
He served as chief of staff U.S. European Command, from July 1, 1961 to June 1, 1963.
On June 1, 1963 he assumed the new duties of chairman of the Inter-American Defense Board. Along with these duties as chairman he received the additional duty of being the senior Air Force member, Military Staff Committee, United Nations, which is effective Aug. 1, 1963.
(Updated as of Aug. 1, 1963)