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Lieutenant General Ennis C. Whitehead was born in Westphalia, Kan., in 1895. He attended the University of Kansas and entered the Army as a flying cadet on Aug. 16, 1917. From June 1917 until November 1917 he was stationed at Chanute Field, Ill., where he was commissioned a first lieutenant in the Aviation Section of the Signal Officers Reserve Corps on Nov. 20, 1917.

During World War I, General Whitehead served in France from November 1917 until the Armistice at the 3rd Aviation Instruction Center, Issoudun, France, successfully as an instructor and a test pilot. In June 1918 he was named Assistant Chief Test Pilot and served in that capacity until November 1918 when he returned to the United States.

General Whitehead was honorably discharged on Jan. 9, 1919, at which time he returned to the University of Kansas to complete his college education. On graduating in 1920 he received the degree of Bachelor of Arts and was shortly thereafter commissioned as a first lieutenant in the Air Service of the Regular Army on July 1, 1920.

General Whitehead's first peacetime assignment immediately following his commissioning was at Camp Funston, Kan., as Assistant Supply Officer of the 55th Infantry. In October of the same year he went to March Field, Calif., as an instructor.

In February 1921 he went to Kelly Field, Texas, as an Engineering Officer of the 94th Squadron, and in July 1921 he was transferred to Langley Field, Va.. In October 1921 he went to Ellington Field, Texas, and was then transferred in July 1922 to Selfridge Field, Mich., where he had charge of aeronautical repair units.

He entered the Air Service Engineering School at McCook Field, Ohio, in July 1925, and graduated in June 1926. On graduation he was assigned as Assistant Chief of Maintenance at the Fairfield Air Intermediate Depot in Ohio. In December 1926 he was designated Assistant Engineering Officer and Pilot for the Pan-American Flight from Miami, Fla., to Panama under the command of the late Major General Herbert A. Dargue.

In May 1927 General Whitehead went to Wright Field, Ohio, as Assistant Chief of the Maintenance Engineering Branch in the Air Corps Materiel Division. In July 1928 he became Chief of the Aircraft Engine and Spare Parts Branch there, and in August 1930 he entered the Air Corps Tactical School at Langley Field, Va. He graduated in June 1931 and was assigned to Selfridge Field, Mich., as Commanding Officer of the famed 36th Pursuit Squadron.

General Whitehead went to Albrook Field, Panama Canal Zone, in November 1932, as Operations Officer and Intelligence Officer. He returned to the United States in December 1934 and was stationed at Barksdale Field, La., as Assistant Operations Officer. In March 1935 he went to Langley Field, Va., as Assistant to the Plans and Training Officer, G-3, of the General Headquarters Air Force. In July 1935 he became Inspector of the General Headquarters Air Force with station at Langley Field, Va., and in August 1937 he entered the Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, Kan., graduating in June 1938.

Upon graduation from the Command and General Staff School, General Whitehead was appointed Chief of the Field Service Section of the Supply Division, Office of the Chief of Air Corps, Washington D.C. In September of that year he was transferred to the Military Intelligence Division, G-2, of the War Department General Staff for duty in the Balkans and Near East Section of that office. Two years later he was made Chief of the Aviation Section, Military Intelligence Division. In February 1941, he was assigned as Commanding Officer of the Air Corps Advanced Flying School in Phoenix, Ariz., until July 1942 when he was appointed Deputy Commander, Fifth Air Force in the Southwest Pacific.

General Whitehead became Commanding General of the Fifth Air Force in June 1944, serving in this position throughout the remainder of World War II and until March 1946 when he was made Commanding General of the Far East Air Forces.

After nearly seven years of continuous duty overseas, General Whitehead returned to the United States to become Commanding General of the Continental Air Command at Mitchel Air Force Base, N.Y., on April 15, 1949. He served as Commanding General of ConAC until he was appointed Commanding General of the Air Defense Command on Jan. 8, 1951.

General Whitehead is rated a Command Pilot, Combat Observer, and Technical Observer. He was promoted to Lieutenant General on June 5, 1945.

He has been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross; the Distinguished
Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster; the Silver Star; the Distinguished Flying Cross; and foreign decorations from the governments of Chile, Peru, Venezuela, and Bolivia.

He received the Distinguished Flying Cross with the following citation:

"For extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight. Lieutenant Whitehead, as one of the pilots of the airplane "New York" during the Pan-American Flight Dec. 21, 1926, to May 2, 1927, displayed initiative, resourcefulness, and a high degree of skill under the many trying conditions encountered throughout the flight. His tireless energy, sound judgment and personal courage contributed materially to the successful completion of this mission of good will. In the efficient performance of his arduous duties he aided in the accomplishment of an exploit which brought great credit to himself and to the Army of the United States."

He was awarded the Silver Star in 1943 with the following citation:

"For personal gallantry in action against the enemy over Mubo, Territory of New Guinea, on July 7, 1943. In the course of the Allied Land Force campaign for Salamaua, Major General Whitehead received a request to bombard key positions at Mubo. In response to this request, he conceived, planned and participated in the heaviest bombardment attack which has ever been made by the Fifth Air Force. Major General Whitehead arrived over these targets at 8:50 o'clock in the morning of the attack in a B-17 airplane and remained in the area despite heavy antiaircraft fire until the bombardment attack was completed at 10:13 o'clock. Involved in this attack were B-25 Mitchell and B-24 Liberator airplanes, which dropped a total weight of 211,800 pounds of air-burst and delay fuse bombs on three targets. Without knowing that Major General Whitehead had participated in this attack, the Commander of the Allied Land Forces in the Mubo area radioed, "Your bombardment was faultless." Later information from the Allied Land Forces revealed that Allied troops, following the bombardment, had captured the three target positions with no casualties. On occupation of these objectives, Allied troops found the area littered with mangled corpses of Japanese Infantry troops destroyed by our bombing attack."

Up-to-date as of February 1951


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