Maj. Gen. Gordon Harrison Austin is commander of the Eastern North American Air Defense Command/Continental Air Defense Command Region and additionally commander of the First Air Force, Air Defense Command, headquartered at Stewart Air Force Base, N. Y. The Eastern NORAD Region is one of the six regions comprising the North American Air Defense Command with responsibility for conducting all United States and Canadian air defense activities.
General Austin was born at Davenport, Iowa, in 1913. He entered the U.S. Military Academy in 1932, the same year his father, the late Major General F.T. Austin, United States Army, retired from the service He graduated from West Point in 1936 and was commissioned a second lieutenant of Field Artillery.
General Austin completed his flying training at Randolph and Kelly fields, Texas, in February 1938, at which time he was transferred to the Army Air Corps and assigned to Bolling Field, D.C.
He was transferred to Hickam Field, Hawaii, in May 1940, and joined the 42nd Bombardment Squadron. Later he activated and took command of the 47th Pursuit Squadron at Wheeler Field, Hawaii, and was in command of the squadron during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.
General Austin returned to the mainland and assumed command of the 325th Fighter Group at Providence, R.I., in December 1942. The next month he moved with his group to northern Africa. While in the Mediterranean area as commander of the 325th he flew 100 combat hours in P-40 aircraft and was credited with three enemy aircraft destroyed. Later, as commander of the 319th Bombardment Group, he flew 115 combat hours in B-26 aircraft. General Austin returned to the United States in December 1944 to assume duties in the Operations and Requirements Division of Headquarters, Army Air Forces, Washington, D.C.
In September 1947, General Austin entered the Air War College at Maxwell Field, Ala., graduating in June 1948. After a brief assignment with Headquarters, First Air Force, Fort Slocum, N.Y., he was assigned again to the European area. During his three and one-half years in Europe he served as the U.S. Air Force representative to the Western Union Military Headquarters at Fontainebleau, France; then in Paris with the Southern European Regional Planning Group, NATO; and later as chief of the Air Force section of the Military Assistance Advisory Group (France). He returned to the United States in August 1952 to become a student at the National War College in Washington, D.C.
After completing the National War College in June 1953, he was assigned to the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as an Air Force member of the Joint Strategic Plans Group. Two years later he was reassigned to the War Plans Division, Headquarters, U.S. Air Force, as chief of the Combined Plans Branch.
He became deputy chief of staff for operations, Headquarters Central Air Defense Force, Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base, Mo., in September 1955 He served in this capacity until March 1958, when he became commander of the 20th Air Division, also headquartered there.
In September 1958 the general assumed command of the 11th Air Division with headquarters at Ladd Air Force Base, Alaska, and concurrently became vice commander of the Alaskan Air Command. He departed this dual assignment in September 1960 to become deputy director of operational requirements at the Pentagon where he remained until July 1962.
Returning to France, General Austin became the senior U.S. Air Force representative at Headquarters Allied Forces Central Europe (NATO), Fontainebleau, France. In addition he served as the deputy chief of staff for Operations for Headquarters Allied Air Forces Central Europe, at the same location.
He remained in France until August 1965, returning to the United States to become commander of the 26th NORAD (CONAD) Region and additionally commander of the 26th Air Division, Stewart Air Force Base, N.Y. These unite have since been designated the Eastern NORAD (CONAD) Region and the First Air Force, ADC, still at Stewart Air Force Base.
General Austin has been awarded the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, and Air Medal with 13 oak leaf clusters.
(Current as of July 15, 1966)