Died July 18,2008
Major General Harry L. Evans was named the vice director, Manned Orbiting Laboratory Program, Office Secretary of the Air Force, Washington, D.C., in August 1965. In this capacity he is responsible to the MOL program director and the secretary of the Air Force for management direction and overall supervision of this manned space program. Additionally, he provides the interface between the secretary of the Air Force and senior members of government and industry for MOL.
The general was born in Bedford, Iowa, in 1919, and graduated from Northeast Oklahoma Junior College, Miami, Okla., in 1938. General Evans entered military service in 1940 and was commissioned a second lieutenant and completed his pilot training at Kelly Field, Texas, in November 1940.
From November 1940 to January 1943, General Evans served at Randolph Field, Texas, first as a flight instructor, then as a squadron commander. In January 1943, he was transferred to the 449th Base Headquarters and Air Base Squadron, Independence Army Air Field, Kan., serving as a flight commander and then as squadron commander. Between June 1943 and March 1945, the general served in various capacities with different units. These included group commander, assistant director of flying students, operations officer and student. In March 1945, he became a member of the 29th Bomb Group on Guam. During his 10-month duty with the group he served as operations officer and as deputy group commander.
Following his return from Guam in December 1945, General Evans served with Headquarters Santa Anna Air Base, Calif., until his assignment in March 1946 as executive officer of the 25th Service Group, March Field, Calif. He held this post for two months and was then assigned to the 25th Air Service Group, Davis-Monthan Field, Ariz., and served as executive officer and then commander.
In September 1946, he entered the University of Oklahoma, earning his bachelor of science degree in 1948. He was assigned as squadron commander of a strategic reconnaissance squadron based in Japan and later at Fairfield-Suisun Army Air Field (now Travis Air Force Base) Calif. During this period, his squadron was the first in the Air Force to receive training in the reconnaissance version of the B-36.
In 1950 General Evans was selected to attend a two-year guided missile course at the University of Michigan for which he received his master of science degree, together with a commendation for outstanding scholastic achievement. After completion of this course, he served a four-year tour with Field Command, Armed Forces Special Weapons Project, Sandia Base, N.M., where he held varied positions in technical development work in the atomic energy field. He was serving as chief of staff, 1090 Special Reporting Wing at Sandia Base at the time of his departure in July 1956 for the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
After graduation from the Air War College in June 1957, General Evans reported to the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division and was assigned as program director of the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System. Upon transfer of the project to another organization, he was placed in charge of the Air Force fledgling space activities then commencing at the Ballistic Missile Division. He was responsible for early Air Force Satellite Systems and for the Air Force portion of the early Pioneer and Explorer space launches. During this same period, he was responsible, in a management capacity, for more than 50 space and satellite launches and on-orbit operations.
In November 1962, he became the chief, Requirements & Development Division, J-5 (Plans and Policy), Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In February 1965, he was named the assistant deputy commander for Manned Orbiting Laboratory; and in August 1965, he was assigned as vice director, Manned Orbiting Laboratory Program, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force. He became the assistant to the commander of Air Force Systems Command in March 1967.
Among the general's decorations are the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart and the Air Medal with oak leaf cluster.