BRIGADIER GENERAL THOMAS B. KENNEDY
Died November 04,1999
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Brigadier General Thomas Kennedy is deputy special assistant for strategic mobility, Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C.
General Kennedy was born in 1918, in Portland, Ore. He attended Oregon State College during 1937-1938, majoring in engineering, and graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor of science degree. He began his military career as art aviation cadet and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in January 1943.
During World War II he was initially assigned to MacDill Field as a B-26 bomber pilot and instructor pilot. Subsequently he was assigned to B-24 training at Smyrna, Tenn., Tucson, Ariz., and Westover Field, Mass. In January 1944 he went with the 459th Bombardment Group to North Africa and then Italy. He participated in 35 bombing missions and became the group operations officer prior to being shot down over southern France in July 1944. Working with the French underground and the Royal Air Force, he managed to return into friendly territory in the fall of 1944.
He returned to the United States and in November 1944 went to Victorville, Calif., where he was instrumental in the formation of an airborne radar training unit and was the group operations officer. After V-J Day, he was transferred to the Air Transport Command and participated in both Atlantic and Pacific operations. He became the transportation officer at what is now Travis Air Force Base, Calif., in December 1945. He participated in the Berlin airlift as a C-54 aircraft commander for nine months. He then returned to Travis for subsequent reassignment in July 1949 as the Military Air Transport Service detachment commander at McChord Air Force Base, Wash.
During the Korean War, General Kennedy was instrumental in the reopening of military airlift operations over the North Pacific. As the activity at McChord Air Force Base increased, a transport wing was formed and he became the operations officer. He departed in 1951 for the Far East where he served as commander of two aerial port squadrons and Director of Operations and Training for the 374th Troop Carrier Wing in Japan. He was responsible for the conversion of the 374th Wing from C-54s to C-124s. He returned to the United States in December 1953.
After completing Air Command and Staff School, he was assigned to the Directorate of Requirements, Headquarters U.S. Air Force as a branch chief and then chief of the Supporting Commands Division. He was responsible for requirements for transport aircraft, and special purpose aircraft including rotary wing aircraft, targets and drones.
In August 1958 he went to the Air War College and then was assigned as the special assistant to the commander, Airways and Air Communications Service with duty station at Strategic Air Command headquarters. He next was assigned to Headquarters Military Air Transport Service as chief of the Program and Policy Division.
In May 1963 General Kennedy went to Southeast Asia as commander of the 315th Troop Carrier Group which was responsible for airlift operations including the operation of aerial ports. He established the airlift system and procedures used for the movement of cargo and personnel throughout Southeast Asia including Thailand; supervised the buildup of airlift activity, including the development of the aerial port structure and command-control communications systems; and developed the procedure for transport aircraft night flare support of strike fighter operations.
In July 1964 he went to Headquarters Pacific Air Forces, as assistant for Requirements and Systems Programs. At PACAF he established and was chief of the Tactical Evaluation System which was an attempt to analyze the conduct of combat air operations as the actions were occurring.
He was reassigned to the Pentagon in January 1967 as the director of General Purpose and Airlift Studies in the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff, Studies and Analysis, Headquarters U.S. Air Force and became deputy assistant chief of staff in August 1968. He was assigned as the deputy special assistant for strategic mobility, Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in January 1969.
His military decorations include the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star Medal, the Air Medal with eight oak leaf clusters and the Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters.
(Current as of Feb. 1, 1969)