Retired as a colonel.

Colonel William Robert Large, Jr. was born in Dallas, Texas, on January 22, 1915. He was graduated from Oak Cliff High School, Dallas, in 1932. In 1933, he attended Southern Methodist University, majoring in civil engineering. Transferring to Texas A & M College, he majored in chemical engineering and was graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1936. He served in the Infantry of the Texas National Guard from 1935-1936. On May 31, 1936, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Field Artillery Reserve. In addition, he completed one year of graduate work in Chemical Engineering at Carnegie Institute of Technology.


Colonel Large worked for the Humble Oil Company, at Baytown, Texas, before he was accepted for flying training. He trained at Randolph and Kelly Fields, Texas, winning his pilot’s wings at Kelly Field in 1940. On June 22, 1940, he resigned his rank of first lieutenant in the Field Artillery to accept a commission as a second lieutenant in the in the U.S. Army Air Corps Reserve.


Early in his military career, Colonel Large served as basic flying instructor at Randolph Field. At Lake Charles Advanced Flying School in Louisiana, he was commandant of Cadets and single-engine training Squadron Commander. He was appointed B-24 Training Squadron Commander and was training inspector with the Training Command Headquarters at Fort Worth, Texas. Working directly for the Director of Operations in readying heavy bomb groups for overseas deployment, he was Field Liaison Officer at Headquarters, Second Air Force, Colorado Springs, Colorado.


During World War II, Colonel Large was a B-24 pilot and Deputy and Group Commander of the 454th Bomb Group and Assistant Wing Operations Officer of the 304th Bomb Wing in Italy from March 1944 to May 1945. He flew 35 combat missions and logged 246 hours of combat time with this group.


In July of 1945, he transferred to the Pacific and went to Guam as Chief of the Operations Plans Division, HQ United States Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific (USASTAF). In January of 1946, Colonel Large went to Bikini as Air Operations Officer with the Joint Task Force One. This was the now famous Operation “Crossroads” project.


Colonel Large was assigned to the Operations Division, Headquarters, USAF, in November 1946, where he served over 3 ½ years as Deputy Chief of the Zone of Interior (ZI) Branch and as Deputy Division Chief in matters pertaining to atomic energy and the Strategic Air Command. He remained in Washington until August of 1950, when he was assigned to Headquarters, Strategic Air Command as Deputy Chief and, later, as Chief of the Operations Division of the Directorate of Operations. During the next 3 ½ years, in these positons, his work included matters pertaining to SAC War Plans, operational matters pertaining to special weapons, aircraft and flying-hour allocations, flight operations, current operations of SAC, and special matters in the atomic energy field.


He remained in Headquarters, SAC until January of 1954 when he reported to March AFB, California. In May of 1954, he assumed command of the 320th Bomb Wing at March AFB. During the summer of 1954, Colonel Large led the 320th on a 90-day TDY deployment to RAF Station Brize Norton, United Kingdom.


Colonel Large was assigned as Deputy Commander of the 7th Air Division at South Ruislip, United Kingdom, in August 1955, serving under Brigadier General James H. Walsh. In February 1957, he returned to the United States where he was assigned as Deputy Commander for Plans and Operations, Western Development Division, Air Research and Development Command under General Bernard A. Schriever in Inglewood, California. On January 1, 1958, his office was redesignated Assistant Commander-in-Chief, Strategic Air Command for Missiles (SAC-MIKE). On June 5, 1958, Colonel Large was promoted to the temporary rank of brigadier general.


In January 1959, he assumed command of the 706th Strategic Missile Wing at F. E. Warren AFB, Wyoming. This was the first Air Force wing equipped with the new Atlas ICBM. In June 1959, he was reassigned to Headquarters, Air Research and Development Command at Andrews AFB, Maryland and reverted to his regular rank of colonel. In 1964, Colonel Large took command of the Eastern Contract Management Region of Air Force Systems Command at Olmsted AFB, Pennsylvania. In August 1965, he was appointed Chief of Staff of the Aeronautical Systems Division at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.


Colonel Large retired from the Air Force on September 30, 1968.


The Colonel is a Command Pilot with over 4,600 hours and holds the Master Missile Badge. His awards and decorations include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters and Army Commendation Ribbon with two Oak Leaf Clusters.



He was promoted to Second Lieutenant (permanent) on June 22, 1940, with date of rank May 26, 1940; First Lieutenant (temporary) on November 1, 1941; Captain (temporary) on March 28, 1942, with date of rank March 1, 1942; Major (temporary) on November 12, 1942; Lieutenant Colonel (temporary) on January 22, 1944; Colonel (temporary) on August 30, 1945; First Lieutenant (permanent) on July 5, 1946, with date of rank January 22, 1943; Lieutenant Colonel (permanent) on July 2, 1948, with date of rank July 1, 1948; Colonel (permanent) on July 1, 1954; Brigadier General (temporary) on June 5, 1958 (vacated, reverting to the regular rank of Colonel).