Earl L. Naiden was born in Woodward, Iowa, on February 2, 1894. Following graduation from the United States Military Academy he was commissioned a second lieutenant of Cavalry on June 12, 1915.
His first service was at the Presidio of San Francisco, California, with the 1st Cavalry, until November 1915, when he served at Presidio of Monterey, California, until March of the following year. He was assigned to border patrol duty at Naco and Douglas, Arizona, Until June 1916. He then was detailed to the Aviation Section of the Signal Corps to enter the Signal Corps Aviation School, San Diego, California. He went to Columbus, New Mexico, as Transportation Officer with the 1st Aero Squadron, again participating in border duty.
In September 1917, he sailed for France with his squadron. He was ordered to Turin, Italy to open an aviation school and to receive instruction in flying the Caproni airplane. From October to December 1917, he was in charge of the American Aviation Mission in Italy and received special flying instruction there. Then then served at Paris and Tours, France, successively, in the Aviation Office, Headquarters, Service of Supply, between December 1917, and April 1918, when he was ordered to the Day Bombardment School, 7th Aviation Instruction Center and the 3rd Aviation Instruction Center, successively.
He participated in the Somme Defensive in March 1918. In July 1918, he went to London, England, for duty with the Air Ministry. He returned to France for flying duty in August 1918, taking part in the St. Mihiel Offensive on September 12, 1918, and in the Meuse-Argonne from September 26 to November 1, 1918. In September 1918, he was detailed as the Air Service representative with the General Staff Plans and Training Division of the American Expeditionary Forces.
Returning to the United States in July 1919, and after temporary duty in the Administrative Group, Office of the Director of the Air Service, Washington, D.C. he moved to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, for duty as instructor in the School of the Line. On July 1, 1920, he transferred from the Cavalry to the Air Service. In April 1921, he began a short fresher course at the Primary Flying School, Carlstrom Field, Florida. In July 1921, he returned as instructor to the General Service Schools, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and in September 1923, he enrolled as a student at this school.
After graduation in June 1923, he became Director of Instruction in the Air Service Tactical School at Langley Field, Virginia, and in July 1925, became Assistant Commandant at this school. He enrolled in the Army War College, Washington, D.C., in August 1926, and following graduation in June 1927, sailed for Paris, France, where he attended the Ecole Superieure de Guerre and was graduated in June 1929.
Upon his return to the United States, he became an instructor at the Army War College, Washington, D.C., between August 1929, and August 1933, when he moved to Fort Crockett, Texas, for flying duty, becoming Commanding Officer of the 3d Attack Group and part of the time serving as Commanding Officer of the post. In March 1935, he moved to Barksdale Field, Louisiana, in a similar capacity, becoming Wing Executive Officer at this station in July 1937. In July 1938, he was ordered to Langley Field, Virginia, as the Inspector, and became the Plans and Training Officer of General Headquarters Air Force at the field in April 1939. He moved to Bolling Field, District of Columbia, upon the removal of this Headquarters from Langley Field to Bolling Field.
In March 1942, he went to India as Chief of Staff of the India-Burma-China Ferry Command and of the Tenth Air Force based in India, commanding both ferry and tactical operations. He then served as Commanding General of the Tenth Air Force from June 26, to August 18, 1942. He returned to the United States in September 1942, and was assigned to the Southeast Air Force Training Center, Maxwell Field, Alabama. In November 1942, he moved to Craig Field, Selma, Alabama, for duty with the 57th Base Headquarters and Air Base Squadron, and in January 1943, he became Commanding Officer of the 329th Base Headquarters, and Air Base Squadron, Selman Army Airfield, Monroe, Louisiana.
In July 1943, he went to the South Pacific serving as Chief of Staff of the Thirteenth Air Force, a duty for which he was decorated with the Legion of Merit. He returned to the United States in June 1944, and the following month became Commanding Officer of the 317th Wing of the Fourth Air Force, Redmond Army Airfield, Oregon.
General Naiden died on September 20, 1944, in the crash of a C-45 transport airplane near Redmond, Oregon.
He was rated a Command Pilot, Combat Observer, and Technical Observer.
Cadet, U.S. Military Academy, June 14, 1911; Second Lieutenant, Cavalry, June 12, 1915; First Lieutenant, July 1, 1916; transferred Aviation Section, Signal Corps, April 8, 1917, to February 12, 1920; Captain, July 4, 1917; Major, Signal Corps, U.S.A., July 30, 1918, to September 12, 1919; Lieutenant Colonel, Air Service, U.S.A., April 30, 1919, to September 12, 1919; transferred to Air Service on July 1, 1920; Major, July 2, 1920; discharged as Major and appointed Captain on November 4, 1922; Major, September 25, 1924; Lieutenant Colonel (temporary), March 2, 1935; Lieutenant Colonel, July 13, 1936; Colonel (temporary), March 1, 1940; Colonel, A.U.S., June 26, 1941; Brigadier General, A.U.S., January 23, 1942. He vacated the rank of Brigadier General, A.U.S., on November 6, 1942, and reverted to his permanent rank of Colonel.
Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, Mexican Service Medal, World War I Victory Medal, American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, French Ordre de l’Étoile Noire (Officer).