Retired May 31, 1963. Died May 1, 1974.
Brigadier General Andrew B. Cannon, presently commander of the 63d Troop Carrier Wing (Heavy) at Donaldson Air Force Base, S.C., is an authority on military airlift. He was the third individual assigned to the old Ferrying Command, now the Military Air Transport Service, and maintains one of the longest associations with MATS of any active member of the Air Force. He has had many varied assignments in the U.S. Air Force.
Although born in Newton, Mass., in 1903, he considers his home to be Tilton, N.H., where he studied at Tilton Junior High School and the Tilton Seminary, and maintains his home. In 1927 he first became interested in aviation. His flying career began at that time when he took his first lessons in surplus World War I aircraft. He began flying commercially in 1932, and was personal pilot for Mr. Thomas E.P. Rice of the U.S. Smelting Corporation for approximately six years. During this period, he flew twin engine amphibious twin float seaplanes. He later flew as pilot for Inter-City Airlines of Boston, Mass., until called to active duty in the Air Force in early 1941.
General Cannon's first military duty assignments took him to Florida and California. In the early phases of World War II, he commanded a detachment of 10 transport aircraft which moved troops and supplies in the Alaskan Theater just one week after the bombing of Dutch Harbor. When relieved of this assignment, he returned to Long Beach, Calif., as deputy commander of the Sixth Ferrying Group, Air Transport Command. In April 1943, he was transferred to Palm Springs Air Force Base and activated the 21st Ferrying Group of which he was the first commander. He returned to Long Beach, Calif., in September 1943 to take command of the Sixth Ferrying Group.
In June 1944, General Cannon was assigned as commander of the Bengal Wing in the China-Burma-India Theater. His wing consisted of 10 air bases and more than 300 transport aircraft engaged in flying materials of war over the famous "hump" to China. He arranged for the aerial transportation of two complete Chinese armies, including mules. Within 14 months, the Bengal Wing flew more than 37,000 trips "over the hump" with the general personally flying more than 120 combat missions.
Returning to the United States at the cessation of hostilities, General Cannon separated from service in 1946 and became superintendent of maintenance for Capital Airlines. During this period, he remained active in the Air Force Reserve. On one of his active duty tours in 1949, he served as special assistant to the commander, First Airlift Task Force at Wiesbaden, Germany where his invaluable experience was utilized during the famous Berlin Airlift.
General Cannon was recalled to duty in early 1951 and has been on active duty ever since. Upon recall, he reported to Kelly Air Force Base, Texas where he served as assistant to the commander, Continental Division, MATS and then as commander, 1700th Air Transport Group.
In 1955, after four years at Kelly Air Force Base, he was transferred to Pacific Division, MATS, as commander of the 1502d Air Transport Wing located at Hickam Air Force Base, Honolulu, Hawaii. This wing was responsible for movement of air cargo throughout the Pacific area.
Following his tour in Hawaii, General Cannon went to Dover Air Force Base, Del., in 1958 as commander of the 1607th Air Transport Wing, Heavy. After this assignment he became wing commander of the 63d Troop Carrier Wing (Heavy) at Donaldson Air Force Base on Sept. 15, 1958, the position he now fills.
A command pilot, General Cannon has logged more than 20,000 hours including more than 5,000 hours as pilot in command of large twin engine amphibious and twin float type commercial aircraft. He has flown more than four million air miles, piloting many types of aircraft. As a MATS aircraft commander, he has completed 10,000 accident-free flying hours, and is now qualified as a flight examiner and instructor pilot in the C-124 Douglas Globemaster aircraft.
Since General Cannon assumed command of the 63d Troop Carrier Wing (Heavy), this organization has distinguished itself in all areas of the globe. Accident free Operation Deep Freeze 60, the aerial resupply of the United States Stations in Antarctica, is but one of the outstanding achievements of General Cannon's wing.
Early in 1959, the general piloted the first non-stop flight in a C-124 Globemaster from Donaldson Air Force Base, S.C. to Rhein-Main, Germany. His aircraft landed in Germany less than 20 hours after take-off.
General Cannon commanded the First Provisional Support Squadron at Roosevelt Roads Naval Station, Puerto Rico during Operation Big Slam/Puerto Pine. An outstanding record was achieved on this mission, the largest peacetime airlift ever accomplished by the U.S. Air Force. The various units commanded by General Cannon have consistently achieved outstanding safety records under his direction.
He has completed the Manpower Management Course at The George Washington University, the Atomic Weapons Orientation Course at the Air University, and the Air Reserve Colonel's Course at the Air Command and Staff College.
His military awards include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster; Distinguished Flying Cross; Bronze Star Medal; Air Medal with oak leaf cluster; Air Force Commendation Medal; a special award from the National Chinese Government, the Special Breast Order of Yun Hui with ribbon. Also, the American Campaign Medal; American Defense Service Medal; European, African, Middle Eastern Campaign Medal; Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Air Force Reserve Medal and Air Force Longevity Service Award.
General Cannon achieved the rank of brigadier general in May 1960. General Cannon is an honorary member of Rotary International and a member of the Masonic Lodge of Tilton, N.H.