Lieutenant General George B. Simler is commander of Air Training Command with headquarters at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. The mission of ATC is to select and train American men and women for the U.S. Air Force. It provides military, technical and flying training for Air Force officers and airmen. ATC also trains personnel for the Air Reserve Forces, Army, Navy, NASA, other government agencies and Military Assistance Program students in specialized courses.
General Simler was born in 1921, in Johnstown, Pa. He entered the University of Maryland in 1940 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in August 1942.
He served two combat tours in the European Theater of Operations during World War II. In July 1944, on his second combat tour, General Simler was shot down. He evaded capture and was successful in making his way back to the Allied lines in September 1944.
General Simler returned to the University of Maryland in 1946 as the first professor of Air Science and Tactics at the university. He later enrolled as a student to complete his college work, graduating in 1948. While at the University of Maryland, he was captain of the football team which played University of Georgia in the Gator Bowl game in 1948.
Following assignments as commander of the 86th Fighter-Bomber Group and the 355th Fighter Group, General Simler was assigned to the U.S. Air Force Academy as director of athletics.
General Simler graduated from the National War College in 1961. He was then assigned overseas to Kadena, Okinawa, and became commander of the 18th Tactical Fighter Wing, which was the first Pacific Air Forces organization to convert to the F-105 Thunderchief. The wing received the U.S. Air Force Flying Safety Award, the U.S. Air Force Missile Safety Award, and the Air Force Distinguished Unit Citation.
In June 1965 following an assignment as commander of the Tactical Fighter Weapons Center, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., he went to Southeast Asia. During this assignment he was director of operations of the Seventh Air Force and flew combat missions in every tactical strike aircraft assigned to the Seventh Air Force.
From Southeast Asia, General Simler was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force where he became director of operations in August 1967. He became U.S. Air Forces in Europe vice commander in Chief in July 1969.
General Simler assumed command of Air Training Command in September 1970.
He is a command pilot. His military decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with 11 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Purple Heart, and the Vietnamese Air Force Cross of Gallantry.
(Current as of Sept. 1, 1970)
General Simler was killed in the crash of a T-38 jet trainer on takeoff at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, on Sept. 9, 1972. He was to be promoted to the grade of general and take command of Military Airlift Command at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., on Sept. 12, 1972. He was posthumously promoted to the grade of general effective Aug. 16, 1972.