LIEUTENANT GENERAL WILLIAM K. MARTIN
Died October 22,2014
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Lieutenant General William Kemp Martin is commander of the Strategic Air Command's Fifteenth Air Force, March Air Force Base, Calif.
The mission of Fifteenth Air Force is operational support and execution of the overall Strategic Air Command mission to maintain a mixed bomber-tanker-reconnaissance aircraft and missile force capable of deterring Communist or other aggression and, should it be necessary, destroy the enemy's war-making capacity.
As commander of the Fifteenth Air Force, General Martin is specifically responsible for SAC operations in the Western United States and Alaska.
Born in Washington, D.C., in 1915, General Martin attended Augusta Military Academy and Colgate University before entering the U.S. Military Academy at West Point where he graduated and earned his commission in June 1939.
Following pilot training at Kelly Field, Texas, General Martin served with the 7th Bombardment Wing in California and Utah.
Wartime assignments included command of the 302d Bomb Group (B-24); in England, Chief of Staff, 4th Combat Wing; Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations, 3d Air Division, and commander, 487th Bomb Group (B-17). During his European tour, General Martin flew 23 combat missions in B-17 aircraft, and was awarded the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the British Distinguished Flying Cross and French Croix de Guerre for his World War II actions.
Immediate post war assignments included studies at the Command and General Staff School, a tour with the War Department General Staff and two years as chief, Civil Liaison Branch in the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force.
General Martin joined SAC at Walker Air Force Base, N.M., as deputy commander of the 509th Bombardment Wing following his graduation from the Air War College in June 1950. On Jan. 10, 1951, he activated and assumed command of the 6th Bombardment Wing and supervised its subsequent conversion from B-29 to B-36 aircraft. In July 1955, he assumed command of the 45th Air Division at Loring Air Force Base, Maine, and was promoted to brigadier general, At Loring he commanded the first operational B-52 and KC-135 wing in SAC.
General Martin's subsequent assignments included command of a. B-52 bombardment wing in Puerto Rico; Director of Personnel for SAC; Deputy Director and later Director of Information, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force; Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, Headquarters U.S. Air Force; and Assistant Vice Chief of Staff, Headquarters U.S. Air Force.
In February 1965 General Martin was named the inspector general for the Air Force and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for Headquarters U.S. Air Force service just prior to assuming his current duty as Fifteenth Air Force Commander on Sept. 1, 1965.
(Current as of May 15, 1966)