Arthur E. Easterbrook was born in Amsterdam, N.Y., on Nov. 4, 1893. He entered the first Officers Training Camp, Presidio of San Francisco, Calif., in May 1917. He was appointed a second lieutenant, Field Artillery Reserve, on Aug. 15, 1917. He was called to active duty on that same date and was assigned to the 20th Field Artillery. He was commissioned in the Regular Army as a second lieutenant of Infantry on Oct. 26, 1917.
Upon being commissioned in the Regular Army, he served with the 58th Infantry. In May 1918 he was detailed in the Air Service, where he obtained an Observer's rating. He went to France with the American Expeditionary Forces and served with the British Forces in the Australian post in July 1918. He participated with American Forces at the Front in the following engagements: Montdidier-Noyon, Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel, and Meuse-Argonne. For being credited officially with destroying five enemy airplanes, he was designated an Ace.
Following the World War he returned to the United States. He transferred to the Air Service on July 1, 1920. Among his early services following this transfer was a tour at the aviation field, Spokane, Wash., as a National Guard Instructor. He was assigned to duty at the Air Corps Advanced Flying School at Kelly Field, Texas, in February 1927. In December 1929 he was ordered to the Philippine Islands for a two-year tour, followed by service at the Air Corps Training Center, Duncan Field, Texas. He subsequently was detailed in the Office of the Chief of the Air Corps, Washington, D.C. He transferred to Wright Field, Ohio, in May 1936 as a member of a board to study and make recommendations on military characteristics of airplanes. He shortly thereafter resumed his tour in Washington, D.C., and retired from the Army on Sept. 30, 1939.
He was recalled to active duty on April 16, 1940, and assigned to recruiting duty in Phoenix, Ariz. He transferred to the West Coast Air Corps Training Center at Moffett Field, Calif., in September 1940, for duty as Chief of Staff until January 1944 when he became Commanding General, Basic Training Center No. 12, Amarillo Army Air Field, Texas. His next assignment was to Denver, Colo., where he became Chief of Staff, Western Technical Training Command, four months later. In February 1945 he was announced as commanding the Santa Ana Army Air Base, Calif.
In April 1946, he was assigned to a Separation Center to revert to retired status on June 30, 1946.
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
He was promoted to first lieutenant (temporary) on Oct. 26, 1917; first lieutenant (permanent) on May 16, 1919, and transferred to the Air Service on July 1, 1920. He was promoted to captain on that same date; major on Aug. 1, 1935; lieutenant colonel (temporary) on Oct. 12, 1937. He retired from active duty on Sept. 30, 1939, with the rank of major and was recalled to active duty on May 17, 1940. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel (temporary) on May 12, 1941; colonel (temporary) on March 1, 1942; brigadier general (temporary) on Jan. 17, 1944.
For outstanding heroism during the World War he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross with the following citation:
"Because of intense aerial activity on the opening day of the St. Mihiel offensive, Lieutenant Easterbrook, observer, volunteered to fly over the enemy's lines on a photographic mission without the usual protection of accompanying battle planes. Notwithstanding the low-hanging clouds, which necessitated operation at an altitude of only 400 meters, they penetrated 4 kilometers beyond the German lines. Attacked by four enemy machines, they fought off their foes, completed their photographic mission, and returned safely."
For a separate act of outstanding heroism he was awarded an oak leaf cluster to the Distinguished Service Cross with the following citation:
"Lieutenant Easterbrook is also awarded an oak leaf cluster for the following acts of extraordinary heroism in action near Exermont and Varennes, France, Oct. 8, 1918: Lieutenant Easterbrook, with Lieutenant Erwin, pilot, successfully carried out a mission of locating our Infantry, despite five encounters with enemy planes. During these encounters he broke up a formation of three planes, sending one down out of control, killed or wounded an observer in an encounter with another formation, and sent a biplane crashing to the ground, besides driving away a formation of two planes and several single machines."
He was awarded the Purple Heart for bravery coupled with a wound, and the French Croix de Guerre with Gilt Star for heroism in the first World War.
He was awarded the Legion of Merit in July 1945 with the following citation:
"Brig. Gen. Arthur Easterbrook, as Assistant Chief of Staff (A-1), Army Air Forces Western Flying Training Command, from November 1941 to January 1944, displayed executive ability of the highest order, which was particularly outstanding during the early growth and vast expansion of the Air Forces Training Program. His foresight and powerful planning resulted in the smooth and efficient transition from moderate peacetime training to the greatly accelerated war-time production of flying crews. With great skill, General Easterbrook organized and coordinated training activities and tirelessly applied himself to personnel problems, effecting the ultimate use of available manpower and rendering exceptionally meritorious services in the war effort."
(Current as of May 22, 1946)