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Gen Benjamin Wiley Chidlaw

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Gen Benjamin Wiley Chidlaw

  • Birth 18 Dec 1900 Cleves, Hamilton County, Ohio, USA
  • Death 21 Feb 1977 Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado, USA
  • Burial Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado, USA
  • Memorial ID 29565006

US Air Force General. He is remembered for supervising and directing the development of the US's original jet engine and jet aircraft prior to and in the early years of World War II. After graduating from Woodward High School in Cleves, Ohio, he obtained an appointment to the US Military Academy at West Point, New York. He graduated from the academy in June 1922 with a commission as a second lieutenant in the US Army Air Service. He was then sent to Texas where he took flying training at Brooks and Kelly Fields, and received his wings in January 1924. He remained at Kelly Field for five months as a flying instructor before he was sent to Clark Field in the Philippines for duty with the 3rd Pursuit Squadron. He returned to Brooks Field in October 1926 as flying instructor assistant staging commander, and final check pilot. In April 1927 he was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant and he remained at Brooks until July 1930 when he entered the US Army Air Corps Engineering School (USAAC) at Wright Field (now Wright-Patterson Air Force Base), Ohio, graduating a year later. He then began the first of several long assignments at Wright Field which established him as an expert on materiel, especially aircraft. He stayed five years this time, chiefly as project officer of the Materiel Division's Training and Transport Aircraft Branch. In 1934 he devoted three months to helping the USAAC inaugurate its flying of the airmail. He then took the Air Corps Tactical School course at Maxwell Field (now Maxwell Air Force Base), Alabama, followed by the Command and General Staff School instruction at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He was promoted to captain in August 1935 and assigned to the 2nd Bomb Group at Langley Field (now Langley Air Force Base), Virginia, where he became Operations Officer in May 1938. The following year he was named technical assistant to the assistant chief of staff for materiel at the USAAC Headquarters at Langley. He returned to Wright Field for a short time and in March 1939 was assigned to the Supply Division in the Office of the Chief of Air Corps. Three months later he became chief of the Engineer Section and in October chief of the Experimental Engineering Branch, where he monitored the jet engine development. In March 1940 he was promoted to the rank of major in March 1940, to lieutenant colonel in September 1941, to colonel in March 1942, and to the rank brigadier general in November 1942, while assigned to this duty in Washington DC. In March 1943, he was assigned to the Office of the Assistant Chief of Air Staff for Materiel in Washington DC. In that capacity he represented the US Army Air Force (USAAF), the direct predecessor to the US Air Force, on several joint Royal Air Force-USAAF technical missions in London, England. In April 1944 he was sent to the European Theater where he was assigned to the Mediterranean Theater as deputy commanding general of the 12th Tactical Air Command. Following the Allied invasion of southern France, he organized and commanded the 22nd Tactical Air Command in that theater. In March 1945 he took command of the Mediterranean Allied Tactical Air Force and was promoted to major general in April 1945. He returned to Wright Field in July 1945 as deputy commanding general for operations of what became Air Materiel Command. In October 1947, he became deputy commanding general of the command, with a promotion to the rank of lieutenant general, and full commander September 1, 1949. On July 29, 1951, he was promoted to the rank of general and became the commander of Air Defense Command at Ent Air Force Base, Colorado (now closed). Three years later, he also became Commander-in-Chief of the joint service Continental Air Defense Command also headquartered at Ent. He retired from the Air Force in that capacity on May 31, 1955, with 33 years of active military duty in the USAAC and the US Air Force. Among his military decorations and awards include the Army Distinguished Service Medal, the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and other various foreign service awards. He died at the age of 76.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Garver Graver
  • Added: 4 Sep 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 29565006
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Gen Benjamin Wiley Chidlaw (18 Dec 1900–21 Feb 1977), Find A Grave Memorial no. 29565006, citing United States Air Force Academy Cemetery, Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .