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Brigadier General Omer Osmer Niergarth

Omer Osmer Niergarth was born January 19, 1893, in Reed City, Michigan, where he graduated from high school. He attended Michigan State College and the Detroit College of Law.

In August 1917, he enrolled in the Aviation Section of the Signal Officers’ Reserve Corps and was commissioned a second lieutenant following graduation from flying school at Kelly Field, Texas, November 27, 1917. He became a student in the aviation Mechanics Training School in December, 1917, completed the course in January, 1919, and returned to Kelly Field as an instructor in aviation mechanics.

In April, 1919, General Niergarth was named officer in charge of the mechanical instruction exhibit in the Office of the Chief of the Air Service. He received his Regular commission as a second lieutenant in the Air Service July 1, 1920, and was promoted immediately to first lieutenant. In November, 1921, he was assigned to the Supply Division of the Air Service, with headquarters successively at Washington, D.C. and Fairfield, Ohio.

General Niergarth went to the Philippine Islands in April, 1924, for duty with the 2d Observation Squadron at Kindley Field. In May, 1926, he was assigned to the Fairfield (Ohio) Air Depot, where he served for four years.

General Niergarth entered the Air Corps Engineering School at Wright Field, Ohio in September, 1930, was graduated in June, 1931, and entered the Army Industrial College, from which he was graduated in June, 1932. He then entered the Harvard School of Business Administration, was graduated in June, 1934, and was assigned district procurement representative at Detroit, Michigan.

In August, 1937, General Niergarth entered the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field, Alabama. Upon graduation in June, 1938, he was named assistant Chief of Military Personnel in the Office of the Chief of the Air Corps.

General Niergarth, in June, 1940, was named chief of the Air Mission to Chile, with station at Santiago. He returned to the United States in October, 1943, for temporary duty with the Intelligence Division of the Army and in February, 1944, was assigned as assistant personnel officer of the Third Air Force at Tampa, Florida.

In March, 1944, General Niergarth was assigned as deputy commander and chief of staff of the Air Transport Command division in the China-Burma-India theater. In December, 1944, he was hospitalized at Walter Reed General Hospital, Washington, D.C.

General Niergarth, in February, 1945, was named chief of the Organization Branch, Special Plans Division, of the War Department General Staff. In August, 1945, he was appointed chief of the Western Hemisphere Branch, Theater Division, at Army Air Forces Headquarters. In June, 1946, he became chief of the Materials Division of the Army and Navy Munitions Board.

In September, 1947, General Niergarth was appointed assistant chief of staff for supply, A-4, of the Seventh Air Force in Hawaii. In December, 1947, the Seventh Air Force was redesiganted Pacific Air Command and he became its chief of staff. In January, 1949, he was appointed deputy commander of Pacific Air Command.

General Niergarth, in May, 1949, became assistant to the chief of the Office of Materials Resources of the Department of Defense Munitions Board, and in July, 1950, was appointed chief of the Office of Materials Resources. In August, 1951, he was named chief of the Military Personnel Procurement Division in the Office of the Adjutant General of the Army.

General Niergarth has been awarded the Legion of Merit with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal, World War I Victory Medal, American Defense Service Medal with Foreign Service Clasp, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and named an Honorary Chilean War Pilot. He is also authorized to wear the Department of Defense Identification Badge.

He was rated a Command Pilot, Combat Observer, and Aircraft Observer.

PROMOTIONS

Second Lieutenant, Aviation Section, Signal Officers’ Reserve Corps, November 27, 1917; Second Lieutenant, Air Service, July 1, 1920; First Lieutenant, July 1, 1920; Captain, October 2, 1929; Major (temporary), June 16, 1935; Major, October 1, 1938; Lieutenant Colonel (temporary), March 11, 1940; Colonel, A.U.S., January 9, 1941; Lieutenant Colonel, February 4, 1941; Colonel (temporary), November 15, 1941; Colonel, April 2, 1948; Brigadier General (temporary), October 9, 1951, with date of rank September 18, 1951; retired in the grade of Brigadier General, January 31, 1953.