Died March 16,2007
Major General Burl William McLaughlin is vice commander of the Fifteenth Air Force (Strategic Air Command), March Air Force Base, Calif.
General McLaughlin was born in Maude, Okla., in 1920. He graduated from high school in Agra, Okla., in 1937, then attended Kiowa County Junior College, and in 1940 he graduated from Connors State Agricultural College in Oklahoma. He began his military career as an aviation cadet at Muskogee, Okla., in October 1940, had basic flight training at Randolph Field, Texas, and graduated from advanced training at Kelly Field, Texas, in May 1941 with a commission as second lieutenant and his pilot wings.
He then served as an instructor pilot, flight commander and group commander at various Air Training Command bases until April 1946, when he left active duty and was a commercial pilot for United Airlines at Denver, Colo.
Following return to active military duty in August 1947, General McLaughlin served as a B-29 aircraft commander at Spokane Army Airfield, Wash. In June 1949 he was assigned to Fifteenth Air Force at March Air Force Base, Calif., to serve as a pilot on the Aircrew Standardization Board. From July 1950 to September 1953 he was an action officer in the Programs Division, Directorate of Plans, Strategic Air Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.
In September 1953 he went overseas to Tokyo, Japan, where he became deputy director of operations for SAC's "X-RAY" headquarters. In March 1955 he returned to the United States to become commander of the 19th Bombardment Squadron at March Air Force Base and in April 1956 he assumed duties as chief, Operations Division, Directorate of Operations, Fifteenth Air Force. He entered the Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in August 1957 and graduated in June 1958.
He was then assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel. He served first as chief, Command Assignment Branch, Officer Assignment Division; one year later became deputy chief, Colonels Group; and in July 1959 was assigned as chief of the Colonels Group.
General McLaughlin graduated from the National War College in Washington, D.C., in June 1962. He next assumed command of the 64th Troop Carrier Wing (Tactical Air Command), Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, and six months later he became commander of the 516th Troop Carrier Wing at the same base. In this capacity, he played a key role in Exercise Swift Strike III in 1963, acting as coordinating agent for all heavy equipment and supply air drops and air landings for C-130 Hercules aircraft in the area. In January 1965 he assumed command of the 838th Air Division (TAC), at Forbes Air Force Base, Kan.
In March 1966 he went to Chateauroux Air Station, France, as commander of the 322nd Air Division (Military Airlift Command), single manager of airlift in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia as far east as Calcutta, India. During August 1966 the 322nd Air Division moved to High Wycombe Air Station, England, under Operation FRELOC, relocation of U.S. Forces in France.
He was assigned as commander, 834th Air Division at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, in November 1967. In Vietnam he directed the largest, sustained airlift in history which included the Khe Sanh aerial resupply, air drops and air landings to support the 1st Air Cavalry Division in the A Shau Valley, and the air evacuation of the Special Forces Camp at Kham Duc.
General McLaughlin assumed duties as vice commander, Fifteenth Air Force at March Air Force Base, Calif., in September 1969.
His military decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with oak leaf cluster, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon, and Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with palm. He is a command pilot.
General McLaughlin's hometown is Cushing, Okla.
He was promoted to the temporary grade of major general effective Aug. 1, 1968, with date of rank Aug. 11, 1964.
(Current as of Feb. 15, 1970)