MAJOR GENERAL LOUIS EDWARD COIRA
Died October 11,2009
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Major General Louis Edward Coira is vice commander of Fifth Air Force, with headquarters at Fuchu Air Station, Japan.
General Coira was born in 1916 in Bloomsburg, Pa. He graduated from Lock Haven High School, Lock Haven, Pa., in June 1933 and entered the Engineering School of Notre Dame University. He won a competitive appointment to the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., and graduated in 1938 with a commission as second lieutenant, Field Artillery.
His first assignment was to the Air Corps Flying Schools at Randolph and Kelly fields, Texas. He received his pilot wings in October 1939 and was retained at Kelly Field as an instructor until April 1941.
When the United States entered World War II, General Coira was in the Panama Canal Zone. In January 1942 he was in command of the 25th Bombardment Squadron when it established operations at Salinas, Ecuador. He then commanded the 6th Bombardment Group. He returned to the United States in June 1943 with the 40th Bombardment Group, which then was reequipped with the new B-29 aircraft. As deputy commander he left for India with the group, the first B-29 unit overseas during the war. Later, he became a planning staff officer in the XX Bomber Command Headquarters.
Following a brief period as director of training and operations at Stewart Field, N.Y., General Coira attended the Air Command and Staff School at Maxwell Field, Ala. From 1947 to 1950 he was assigned to the Training Division of Headquarters U.S. Air Force.
From August 1950 to April 1951, he participated in the establishment of the B-29 Combat Crew School at Randolph Air Force Base; and upon the introduction of B-47 aircraft into the Air Force inventory, he was sent to Wichita, Kan., to start a similar school for Strategic Air Command B-47 crews. He commanded the 3520th Flying Training Group and the 3520th Flying Training Wing at McConnell Air Force Base during this three year assignment. He next attended the National War College.
From 1955 to 1958 General Coira was stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, as commander of the 5039th Air Base Wing and also commander of the 10th Air Division. In addition, he served as deputy chief of staff for operations of the Alaskan Air Command.
His second tour of duty in the Pentagon began in June 1958 with assignment to the Organization Division, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, and in September 1959 he assumed duties as deputy director, Manpower Requirements and Utilization, Office of the Secretary of Defense.
In September 1962 General Coira was reassigned to Kelly Air Force Base, Texas, as deputy commander of the U.S. Air Force Security Service and in October 1965 became commander. In August 1969 he went to Japan and was assigned as vice commander, Fifth Air Force.
His military decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with oak leaf cluster, and Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster.
(Current as of Oct. 15, 1969)