Retired July 1, 1979.
Brigadier General Elwood A. Kees Jr., is commander of the 25th North American Air Defense Command Region, with headquarters at McChord Air Force Base, Wash., with additional duty as commander of the Aerospace Defense Command's NORAD component, the 25th Air Division.
General Kees was born in 1925, in Alexandria, La. He graduated from Crossett High School, Crossett, Ark., in May 1943.
General Kees began his military career in January 1944 in the U.S. Navy as an apprentice seaman and served aboard ship in the South Pacific theater of operations during the latter part of World War II. His combat tour was abruptly ended when his ship was sunk by an underwater mine. He was discharged from the Navy in May 1946, and resumed his studies at Louisiana Polytechnic Institute, Ruston, La.
In October 1948 General Kees reentered active military service as an aviation cadet and in September 1949 received his pilot wings and commission as a second lieutenant. He then went to Japan, where he was a fighter pilot with the 36th Fighter-Bomber Squadron. He later joined the 80th Fighter-Bomber Squadron in Korea. In June 1951 he was assigned to Langley Air Force Base, Va., as a fighter pilot with the 111th Fighter-Bomber Squadron. He went with the squadron to Japan and then Korea for another combat tour.
In February 1954 General Kees went to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Minn., where he was a pilot with the 18th and 337th Fighter-Interceptor Squadrons. From September 1954 to June 1955, he attended the Aircraft Maintenance Officer Course at Chanute Air Force Base, Ill. Upon completion, he was assigned to Oxnard Air Force Base, Calif., as flight test maintenance officer with the 354th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron and later was materiel officer for the 437th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron.
In April 1957 General Kees entered the Squadron Officer School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. After graduation, he returned to Oxnard Air Force Base and continued to serve in various maintenance capacities with the 437th Fighter- Interceptor Squadron and the 414th Fighter Group.
General Kees left in June 1961 for a tour in Southeast Asia as production control adviser with the Military Assistance Program at Tainan, Taiwan. He returned to the United States in August 1963 and entered the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Va.
From February 1964 to April 1968, General Kees was assigned to the 60th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at Otis Air Force Base, Mass., where he served first as operations officer and later as commander of the squadron.
In December 1968 General Kees returned to Southeast Asia for another combat tour. He served at Cam Ranh Bay Air Base, in the Republic of Vietnam, first as director of the command post for the 12th Tactical Fighter Wing, and later as commander of the 558th Tactical Fighter Squadron, flying F-4s.
He returned to the United States in December 1969 and was assigned as deputy director, Operational Inspection with Headquarters Aerospace Defense Command, Ent Air Force Base, Colo. In April 1970 he was transferred to Hamilton Air Force Base, Calif., as deputy commander for operations with the 1st Fighter Wing. In August 1970 he became commander of the 87th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at Duluth International Airport, Minn., and later at K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base, Mich.
In November 1971 General Kees was reassigned to Headquarters Aerospace Defense Command, where he served successively as deputy chief for safety, deputy inspector general, and assistant deputy chief of staff for operations. In 1972 he completed the Industrial College of the Armed Forces correspondence course as a distinguished graduate with the highest average score ever attained to that date.
General Kees became deputy chief of staff, operations for aerospace defense command and assistant deputy chief of staff, operations for operations, NORAD, in October 1974.
General Kees assumed command of the 25th NORAD Region and 25th Air Division in June 1976.
He is a command pilot with more than 4,600 hours flying time, including more than 500 hours logged as a jet fighter pilot on 300 combat missions while serving in Korea and the Republic of Vietnam.
His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross with three oak leaf clusters, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with 20 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Purple Heart, Distinguished Unit Citation Emblem, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon, and the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon.
General Kees considers Lake Arrowhead, Calif., his hometown.
He was promoted to the grade of brigadier general on Sept. 1, 1974, with date of rank Aug. 13, 1974.