Retired Aug. 1, 1961. Died Feb. 23, 1997.
Don Davis Flickinger was born in Erie, Pa., in 1907. He graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1925 and from Stanford University, Calif., in 1929. Four years later he received his master's degree from Stanford Medical School, also taking post-graduate training at Vanderbilt School of Medicine and Harvard School of Medicine.
Upon entering the Air Force in 1937, General Flickinger was sent to the School of Aviation Medicine at Randolph Field, Texas for training as a flight surgeon.
Going to March Field, Calif., in November 1937 as flight surgeon to the 19th Bomb Group, upon being reassigned to the 17th Attack Group, he began his field investigations of the aeromedical problems in operational Air Force units.
Ordered to Wheeler Field, Hawaii in January 1940 as flight surgeon to the 6th Pursuit Group, General Flickinger was medical officer of the day Dec. 7, 1941 when the Japanese attacked. Prior to this in September 1941 he had been selected to accompany the 14th Provisional Squadron of nine B-17s on the first trans-Pacific flight from Hawaii to the Philippines.
Assigned as flight surgeon of the 7th Fighter Command until October 1942, General Flickinger was then ordered to the China-Burma-India Theater as flight surgeon for the Air Transport Wing flying the "Hump."
In June 1944 he returned to the United States and became chief of the Aeromedical School at the Air Force School of Applied Tactics, Orlando, Fla., and in 1947 became director of research at the School of Aviation Medicine.
Becoming air surgeon at Headquarters Eighth Air Force, Carswell Air Force Base in 1949, General Flickinger held this position until Nov. 26, 1951 when he was assigned to the Air Research & Development Command as the first director of human factors at that command. In this capacity he was responsible for research and development in the human factors area dealing with the biologic, psychologic and sociologic sciences.
Upon the reorganization of the Air Research and Development Command in February 1954, General Flickinger was given the dual assignment of director of research and assistant director for technical operations.
After serving in this capacity for several months he was appointed director of research. As director of research, General Flickinger directed a continuing research effort in the areas of mechanics, chemistry, mathematics, physics, propulsion and solid state sciences. He also directed supporting research and development programs in the areas of geophysics and human factors. In August of 1955 when the Office of Scientific Research was set up as a separate activity to increase emphasis on basic research and to provide closer liaison with other research organizations and renamed the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, General Flickinger became the first commander.
In October 1955, General Flickinger was reassigned as commander of the Air Research & Development Command's European Office in Brussels, Belgium.
The Don Flickinger Trophy, awarded by Air Rescue Service for the best pararescue team, is named in honor of General Flickinger for having been one of the first medical doctors to parachute to a (text deleted)
His decorations include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Soldiers Medal and the Air Medal. He is rated a flight surgeon.
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Commissioned a first lieutenant (permanent) Dec. 1, 1934; he was promoted to captain (permanent) June 24, 1937; to major (temporary) Jan. 4, 1942; to lieutenant colonel (temporary) Nov. 24, 1942; to colonel (temporary) Sept. 7, 1943; to major (permanent) Aug. 20, 1947; to lieutenant colonel (permanent) Aug. 10, 1948; to colonel (permanent) July 27, 1950; to brigadier general (temporary) Oct. 27, 1954.