Retired Feb. 1, 1971. Died Oct. 5, 2004.
Brigadier General Benjamin H. King is the director of aerospace safety, Office of the Deputy Inspector General for Inspection and Safety, Norton, Air Force Base, Calif.
General King was born in Addie Lee, Okla., in 1919. He received his high school education in Fayetteville, Ark. He entered aviation cadet training in February 1942 at Foster Field, Texas, and received his pilot wings and commission as a second lieutenant in November of the same year.
During World War II, he served in the Asiatic-Pacific and European-African-Middle Eastern theaters of operations as a pilot, flying P-38s, P-39s and P-51s. He scored seven victories in air battles and logged 122 combat missions totaling 470 combat hours. During the Korean War, he destroyed two aircraft on the ground, flew 200 combat missions and accumulated 382 combat hours.
He graduated from the Army Command and General Staff School in February 1946 and from the Air Command and Staff College in June 1950.
From January 1957 until July 1959, General King was assigned as commander, 4750th Air Defense Group, and later as deputy commander and commander, 4750th Air Defense Wing at Vincent Air Force Base, Ariz. He moved with the wing to MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. In July 1960 he was reassigned as director, Joint Bomarc Test Staff, Detachment 1, Montgomery Air Defense Sector, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.
From May 1961 until March 1962, he served as commander, 4400th Combat Crew Training Squadron and 4400th CCT Group, Eglin Air Force Auxiliary Field #9, Fla., and in April 1962 he was assigned as commander, 1st Combat Applications Group, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.
General King was assigned in October 1963 as deputy director, Office of the Secretary of Defense Advisory Research Project Agency Field Unit, Bangkok, Thailand. During this period, he flew some 100 missions in Vietnam in T-28, C-47, L-28 and B-26 aircraft.
He returned to the United States in October 1964 and was assigned to the Aerospace Defense Command. He served as vice commander, Los Angeles Air Defense Sector, Norton Air Force Base, Calif.; as deputy for operations, 28th Air Division and then for Fourth Air Force; and as vice commander, Fourth Air Force at Hamilton Air Force Base Calif.
In August 1967 he became command inspector general, Headquarters Aerospace Defense Command, Ent Air Force Base, Colo., and in January 1969 he became director of aerospace safety, Office of the Deputy Inspector General for Inspection and Safety at Norton Air Force Base, Calif.
Still an active fighter pilot, General King is qualified in the T-33, and the supersonic F-106 Delta Dart. He has accumulated more than 6,000 hours of flying time, including 1,146 combat hours logged in 400 combat missions. His decorations include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with three oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with 24 oak leaf clusters, Purple Heart and the French Croix de Guerre.