Died March 15,1998
Major General Eugene Q. Steffes Jr., is vice commander, Eighth Air Force, with headquarters at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. Eighth Air Force is the largest numbered Air Force in the U.S. Air Force and is larger than most major air commands. The majority of the Strategic Air Command flying force -- B-52, FB-111 bomber, and KC-135 tanker aircraft -- are assigned to Eighth Air Force, as well as Titan and Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles.
General Steffes was born in Gary, Ind., in 1921. He attended Mount Carmel High School in Chicago, Ill.; Culver Military Academy, Culver, Ind.; University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Ind.; and received a bachelor of science degree in military engineering and a commission as second lieutenant from the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., in 1944.
He completed primary and advance flying schools in 1944, and then B-17 aircraft combat crew training. He next was an instructor pilot in the same training program at Lockbourne Air Force Base, Ohio.
From February 1946 until September 1948, General Steffes served in various capacities in the Far East Air Forces on Guam and Iwo Jima, and his final assignment was as aide-de-camp to the commander of the Fifth Air Force in Nagoya, Japan.
He returned to the United States in September 1948 and served in various operational positions with Strategic Air Command, including chief of the wing Standardization Board for B-29 aircraft and then as director of training for B-47 aircraft in the 9th Bombardment Wing at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, from May 1953 to February 1955. He then went to March Air Force Base, Calif., as an operations staff officer and subsequently was the deputy chief of staff for Fifteenth Air Force.
General Steffes was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force in September 1957 as aide-de-camp to the vice chief of staff. He entered the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in August 1959. He went overseas in August 1960 for a tour of duty with Strategic Air Command in England at Royal Air Force Station High Wycombe as base commander and subsequently was commander of Royal Air Force Station Greenham Common.
From August 1963 to July 1966, General Steffes was assigned to Headquarters Strategic Air Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., where he served in the Directorate of Operations as deputy for war plans, Combat Plans Branch. In July 1965 he assumed an additional duty with the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff as chief, Combat Plans Branch. He next assumed duties as commander of the 416th Bombardment Wing, Griffiss Air Force Base, N.Y.
In July 1967 he returned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as director of strategic offensive and defensive studies in a newly formed organization which provided the Air Staff its first true analytical studies capability. In January 1969 he became deputy assistant chief of staff, studies and analysis.
General Steffes was selected in February 1970 to be commander of the 817th Air Division (SAC), with headquarters at Pease Air Force Base, N.H., and in July 1971 became commander of the 45th Air Division when it was transferred to Pease Air Force Base. In this position, he was responsible for the successful accomplishment of the operational mission of five Strategic Air Command wings. In June 1972 he returned to Headquarters Strategic Air Command at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., as director of operations plans, deputy chief of staff for operations, with additional duty as chief, Single Integrated Operational Plan Division, Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff, Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
In February 1974 General Steffes was assigned as vice commander of Second Air Force with headquarters at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. In January 1975 General Steffes assumed duties as vice commander of Eighth Air Force when Second Air Force was inactivated and Headquarters Eighth Air Force was transferred to Barksdale Air Force Base.
His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, and the Army Commendation Medal. He is a command pilot with 7,500 flying hours.
General Steffes is a native of Gary, Ind.
He was promoted to the grade of major general effective April 2, 1973, with date of rank Aug. 1, 1969.
(Current as of Feb. 15, 1975)