Maj. Gen. John Richardson “Johnny” Alison was Co-Commander, 1st Air Commando Group, U.S. Army Air Corps. He oversaw and participated in combat operations against the Japanese and supported British commando forces in the China, Burma, India Theater during World War II.
Maj. Gen. Alison was born Nov. 21, 1912, in Micanopy, Florida, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in field artillery in June 1935 through the U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps at the University of Florida. He entered flying school in 1936, earning his Air Corps Reserve commission as a second lieutenant in June 1937. He is a command pilot with combat mission in the P-40, C-47, P-51, and B-25 aircraft flown in China and Burma. He is an “ace” with seven confirmed aerial victories. He joined the Air Force Reserve in 1947.
In a civilian capacity, Maj. Gen. Alison served as an Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Aeronautics 1947–1949, and President of the Air Force Association, 1954–55. He joined the Northrop Corporation in 1953 and served as the company’s Vice President of Customer Relations. He died June 6, 2011, in Washington, D.C. He is interred in Arlington National Cemetery.
The general was inducted into the U.S. Special Operations Command Hall of Honor in 2010. To memorialize his service, Hurlburt Field named Bldg. 90503 – which houses the 492nd Special Operations Wing and U.S. Air Force Special Operations School – after him.
1935 Bachelor of Science, Industrial Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville
1. July 1936–June 1937, Student, Aviation Cadet Program, Randolph Field and Kelly Field, Texas
2. June 1937–November 1940, Pilot and Intelligence Officer, 33rd Pursuit Squadron, 8th Pursuit Group, Langley Field, Va. (later Mitchel Field, N.Y.)
3. November 1940–March 1941, Operations Officer, 57th Pursuit Group, Mitchel Field, N.Y.
4. March 1941–June 1942, Assistant Military Attaché, London, England (also Russia and Iran)
5. June 1942–March 1943, Deputy Commander (later Commander), 75th Fighter Squadron, several fields in China
6. August 1943–October 1943, Commander, 367th Fighter Group, Hamilton Field, Calif.
7. October 1943–November 1943, Co–Commander, Project 9, Seymour Johnson Field, N.C.
8. November 1943–April 1944, Deputy Commander, 5318th Provisional Air Unit (later 1st Air Commando Group), Hailakandi, India
9. April 1944–December 1944, Planner, Far East Air Forces, Hollandia, New Guinea
10. January 1945–March 1945, Deputy Commander, 308th Bomb Group (multiple locations), Pacific Theater
11. March 1945–January 1946, Deputy Chief of Staff, Fifth Air Force, Clark Field, Philippines, and Hamasaki, Japan
12. February 1946–August 1946, Staff Officer, Manpower Division, U.S Army Air Forces, Washington, D.C.
13. August 1946–April 1947, Break in Service
14. April 1947–May 1955, Active Standby (Non–Affiliated Reserve Section) and Inactive Standby (Inactive Status List Reserve Section) Status, Air Force Reserve
15. May 1955–Sep 1959, Commander, 452nd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing (Air Force Reserve)
16. September 1959–November 1972, Special Assistant to the Commander, 15th Air Force, Long Beach, Calif.
Rating: command pilot
Flight Hours: more than 3,500
Aircraft Flown: A-20, B-25, B-26, BT-1, BT-8, BT-9, C-46, C-47, C-119, C-123, CG-4 Glider, F-80, P-12, P-40, P-51, PB-2A, PT-3
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Distinguished Service Cross
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Distinguished Flying Cross
Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air Medal with oak leaf cluster
British Distinguished Service Order
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant June 1937
First Lieutenant Oct. 1940
Captain Oct. 1941
Major March 1942*
Lieutenant Colonel April 1943*
Colonel Feb. 1944*
Brigadier General Aug. 1957
Major General July 1959
* Permanent promotion dates, as he was frocked several times in 1941–1944
(Current as of June 2011)