HomeAbout UsBiographiesDisplay

GENERAL WILLIAM H. BLANCHARD

PRINT | E-MAIL

General William H. Blanchard, a commander of strategic bombing operations in World War II and now vice chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, began his distinguished military career as a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1938.

A native of Boston, Mass., General Blanchard received his high school education in Chelsea, Mass., and graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy before entering West Point in 1934.

After completing pilot training at Randolph and Kelly fields, Texas, in 1939, he held assignments as a flight instructor and as chief of advanced pilot training in the Flying Training Command, before his selection in 1943 for duty with the initial B-29 bomber wing then being formed in Salina, Kan.

In 1944, General Blanchard, as deputy commander of the 58th Bomb Wing, flew the first B-29 into China to begin his participation in strategic bombing operations against the Japanese mainland. Later, assigned as commander of the 40th Bomb Group (B-29) and subsequently as operations officer of the 21st Bomber Command in the Marianas, he planned and flew low-level fire raids against major Japanese targets.

In the climaxing phase of World War II, General Blanchard was directed to prepare and supervise the detailed operations order for the delivery of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

After the war, he again had occasion to apply his knowledge of atomic bombing operations when, as commander of the 509th Bombardment Wing, he was called upon to participate in the "Operation Crossroads" atomic tests at Bikini atoll.

Assigned to Strategic Air Command's Eighth Air Force Headquarters as director of operations in 1948, General Blanchard helped direct the atomic training of crews for B-36s, our first intercontinental bombers. After commanding B-50 and B-36 bomber units of SAC, he was assigned as deputy director of operations for that command in 1953.

In June 1956, he was a member of a select group of U.S. Air Force officers who accompanied General Nathan Twining, then chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, on an official visit to the Soviet Union which included a conducted tour of points of military interest in the Moscow and Stalingrad areas.

General Blanchard assumed command of SAC's Seventh Air Division in England in 1957. Returning to SAC headquarters three years later, he was assigned as director of operations.

After 15 years of continuous service in SAC, he was appointed the inspector general, U.S. Air Force, and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general. In August 1963 he was named deputy chief of staff, programs and requirements in Headquarters U.S. Air Force, and assumed the duty as deputy chief of staff, plans and operations, in February 1964. He was assigned the additional duty as senior Air Force member, Military Staff Committee of the United Nations, later that year.

On Feb. 19, 1965, General Blanchard became vice chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, with promotion to four-star rank. In this position, he bears a large share of the responsibility of managing the vast human and material resources of the world's most powerful aerospace force.

His decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, the Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star, the Air Medal with oak leaf cluster, the presidential Unit Citation and the Asiatic Pacific Medal with six bronze stars. He wears the missile badge and command pilot wings.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
#ICYMI: Luxembourgers and Americans gathered at #Luxembourg #American Cemetery and Memorial in Luxembourg, Nov. 11,… https://t.co/sUOvKZ6WWE
Members of the @AFResearchLab participated in the Big Brothers Big Sisters, Science, Technology, Engineering, Art a… https://t.co/n5eFygccZc
His legacy shall live on! Retired CMSgt Alvin Benner was honored @TeamBarksdale for serving over 50 years of combi… https://t.co/KO5C4uWdUJ
RT @theCaGuard: Two of the California Army National Guard's new M-model UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters head from SoCal to NorCal, Nov. 10, to…
When it comes to diagnostic imaging, doctors seek out radiology and these @341MissileWing #Airmen detect medical is… https://t.co/QUEutqdNGV
A #VietnamWar vet & #PurpleHeart recipient, discussed with @RAFMildenhall #Airmen how tragedy on the battlefield of… https://t.co/Y0uMVhAKrW
RT @andclev: .@SecAFOfficial says the @usairforce is going to have a pitch day on March 6-7, aiming to attract small, innovative businesses…
With the help of #Airmen all across the #AirForce, @TeamTyndall's munitions flight have assessed their munitions fa… https://t.co/R46vj2thnD
.@NASA Researchers came to the @AFResearchLab with a simple question. How does an electrical arc behave in a vacuum… https://t.co/GwJzzRgy8X
The Logistics Career Broadening Program, it's a little known program for company grade logistics officers that pack… https://t.co/LinlGkV6Ps
.@USArmy commends two #JTACs for their exceptional support in a no-notice joint mission. @BagramAirfieldhttps://t.co/awesogZyIR
Our thoughts are with the Airmen and their families who are affected by this loss. https://t.co/MCclu2wPZz
A sea of green, tan, cameo and shades of gray flooded @EielsonAirForce for the ultimate meeting of the minds during… https://t.co/Nlsz6JsHKv
.@NellisAFB Airfield management #Airmen attention to detail and sense of urgency keep Nellis flying.… https://t.co/MbD5EnHjV7
The initial assessment of #HurricaneMichael's aftermath was bleak, but more than a month later, the outlook has tak… https://t.co/cZBfWX8Yca
RT @DeptofDefense: Meet the Lees family. Three brothers and a sister, who have all decided to join the military. Today, Rose Lees tells us…
.@USOPM has announced Federal Benefits Open Season. Enrollment period began November 12 and runs through December 1… https://t.co/XDIVrG0GFX