Retired Oct. 1, 1970.
Brigadier General Coleman O. Williams Jr., is commander of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the 2750th Air Base Wing. The wing is an Air Force Logistics Command organization with the mission to support other organizations located on the base.
General Williams was born in 1922, in Columbia, S.C., where he graduated from University High School in June 1939. He entered The Citadel at Charleston, S.C., and was in his third year there when the United States entered World War II. In December 1941 he entered the aviation cadet program at Maxwell Field, Ala. After primary and basic pilot courses at Camden and Shaw Field, S.C., he completed his training at Turner Field, Ga., in September 1942. He was selected to instruct in twin-engine aircraft at Turner and later Freeman Field, Ind.
Between April 1944 and July 1945, General Williams was in the European Theater of Operations as a lead pilot, flight commander, and assistant squadron operations officer in the 360th Bombardment Group. During World War II he flew 54 combat missions in B-24 aircraft.
Following several brief postwar assignments, including attendance at the Air Tactical School, General Williams received a regular commission in 1946 in the Army Air Corps. He returned to college as a student officer, graduating in 1948 from Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now Auburn University.) with a degree in aeronautical engineering.
In July 1948 he was assigned as a planning officer at Air Transport Command Headquarters, Washington, D.C. He went to Hawaii in April 1950 and served three years as deputy director of plans for the Military Air Transport Service Pacific Division. Due to a shortage of pilots and as an additional duty, he flew 2,000 hours as a C-54 aircraft commander over the Pacific routes.
After graduation from the Air Command Staff College in December 1953, General Williams returned to MATS as commander of the 30th Air Transport Squadron, Westover Air Force Base, Mass. In May 1955 he moved to McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., becoming commander of the 1611th Air Transport Group.
General Williams finished the Air War College in July 1958 and again returned to MATS as director of research and development and later as chief pilot at command headquarters, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., where he was instrumental in the development of the C-141 aircraft and phase-in of the C-135 aircraft into the MATS airlift force.
In August 1962 he attended the State Department Foreign Service Institute in Washington, D.C., and in November 1962 went to the Republic of Vietnam as commander of the 34th Tactical Group, based at Bien Hoa. During this tour of duty, he flew 108 combat missions in B-26 aircraft and was awarded command pilot wings and jumpmaster wings by the Republic of Vietnam for his participation in special operations.
General Williams returned to the United States in December 1963 and spent seven months as chief of the Airlift Forces Branch, Directorate of Programs, in Headquarters U.S. Air Force, then went to the Directorate of Plans for a year as chief, Special Warfare Division. The next two years he served with the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as chief of the Joint Actions Division. While in Washington, D.C., he was awarded his master's degree in international relations by The George Washington University.
In May 1967 he was appointed vice commander and chief of staff of the 315th Air Division, the intratheater airlift arm of Pacific Air Forces. During this tour of duty, General Williams flew 37 combat missions in South Vietnam, and was awarded the Royal Thai Air Force command pilot wings.
General Williams assumed command of the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the 2750th Air Base Wing in July 1968.
His military decorations include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal and Air Force Commendation Medal. He is a command pilot and wears the Parachutist Badge. With a total of more than 19,000 flying hours -- about 12,000 are in military aircraft -- he holds FAA air transport pilot ratings in the DC-4, DC-6, DC-7, and Boeing 707 aircraft. He also has an International Sports Parachutist's license and has made more than 500 jumps.