LIEUTENANT GENERAL SAM J. BYERLEY
Died April 18,2004
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Lt. Gen. Sam J. Byerley is commander, Eighth Air Force, Strategic Air Command, with headquarters at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.
General Byerley was born in Enid, Okla., in 1918. He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Okla., where he was president of Kappa Sigma Fraternity, editor of the "Red Skin" yearbook, and a member of Phi Kappa Phi, honorary scholastic organization. He entered military service as an aviation cadet in 1940 and received his pilot wings and commission as second lieutenant in May 1941.
General Byerley has been involved in bombardment operations since 1944 and was assigned to Strategic Air Command from 1949 until 1965. He returned to SAC with his assignment as commander, Eighth Air Force, in August 1970. He was director of operations of the 93rd Bombardment Wing, Castle Air Force Base, Calif., when that wing became the first in SAC to be equipped with B-52 aircraft.
During 1956 - 1957 General Byerley served as SAC task force commander of an air refueling tanker force in Operation Powerflight. This unit was responsible for refueling the B-52 aircraft participating in the nonstop, round-the-world flight of January 1957. Upon completion of this operation, he was assigned as director of operations, 29th Bombardment Wing, Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. From September 1958 until July 1961 he served as director of operations, Fifteenth Air Force, March Air Force Base, Calif.
Following this assignment, General Byerley became commander of the 456th Strategic Aerospace Wing, Beale Air Force Base, Calif., and in February 1963 assumed command of the 14th Strategic Aerospace Division at the same base. In October 1965 he became commander of The United States Logistic Group at Ankara, Turkey.
General Byerley was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force in August 1967 as deputy director of operations, deputy chief of staff, plans and operations, and in July 1969 became director of operations with additional duties as U.S. Air Force member and steering and coordinating member, Permanent Joint Board on Defense, Canada-U.S. He assumed duties as commander, Eighth Air Force, SAC, with headquarters at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, in August 1970.
Oversea tours of duty for General Byerley have included duty in England, Alaska, Philippine Islands, Japan, and participation in B-29 combat missions during the Korean War.
His military decorations include the Legion of Merit, Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, and Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon with oak leaf cluster. He is a command pilot with more than 6,000 flying hours.
(Current as of Aug. 1, 1970)