MAJOR GENERAL VICTOR E. BERTRANDIAS
Died March 18,1961
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Victor E. Bertrandias was born in San Francisco, Calif., in 1894. He attended St. Joseph's School, Oakland High School, and Field's Business College.
As an enlisted man in the Army, General Bertrandias served in every rank and then was appointed a first lieutenant in the Aviation Section of the Signal Corps Reserve. In World War I. He served with Captain "Eddie" Rickenbacker's famous 94th "Hat in the Ring" Squadron. In July 1920 he was commissioned in the Aviation Section of the Regular Army and served in Project "B" Army of Occupation in Coblenz, Germany.
He graduated from the Air Service Pilot School at Carlstrom Field and from the Air Service Bombardment School at Kelly Field in 1921. He later was engineer officer at Mitchel and Langley fields and in the latter assignment took part with General "Billy" Mitchell in the "bombardment" of the Navy fleet. He also established a world's record for seaplanes while at Langley Field.
Transferred to McCook Field, General Bertrandias became chief inspector of the Engineering Division and organized the inspection system of the Air Corps Engineering Division. He then was assigned to be Western District manager for the Air Corps, in charge of all procurement and test flight experimental work.
General Bertrandias resigned from the Air Corps in 1929, accepted a Reserve commission and has served since on various periods of active-duty. After resigning he became vice president of Douglas Aircraft Company, for which he traveled through Europe and the Far East and studied aircraft factories, particularly in Germany and Italy, reporting on their operations to the Air Corps, as well as to his company.
In August 1942 he reported for active-duty as a major and was assigned to the Southwest Pacific and served as deputy commander and commander of the Far East Air Service Command. He organized the air depot at Townsville, Australia, and supervised all depot installations in that area. In 1945 he became chief of the Maintenance Division of the Air Technical Service Command at Wright Field, in charge of all Army Air Forces maintenance and depots in the United States.
General Bertrandias in July 1945 was appointed commanding general, Eighth Air Force Service Command on Okinawa and later was advance officer of the Fifth Air Force occupation forces in Japan. He took part in several combat missions, and was credited with shooting down a Japanese plane, for which he was awarded the Air Medal. H also holds the Distinguished Service Medal, Soldier's Medal and a Presidential Citation. He returned to civilian status in February 1946 and resumed the vice presidency for sales of the Douglas Aircraft Company.
In August 1949 General Bertrandias was reassigned to active-duty as adviser to the special assistant to the chief of staff, U.S. Air Force, for Reserve Forces and senior Air Force member on the Department of Defense Civilian Components Policy Board. In February 1950 he was appointed director of flying safety in the Office of the Inspector General with station at Norton Air Force Base, Calif.
He was designated director of flight safety research in that office in March 1950, and the following September was appointed deputy inspector general for technical inspection and flight safety research at Ent Air Force Base, Colorado Springs, Colo.
General Bertrandias is rated a command pilot.
(Up to date as of October 1953)