Retired Feb. 1, 1973. Died Aug. 3, 2001.
Brigadier General Ernest F. John is deputy chief of staff, intelligence, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. He is responsible for managing the air intelligence collection and application throughout the Pacific theater and advising the commander in chief, PACAF, on all matters pertaining to intelligence.
General John was born in Douglas, Ariz., in 1921. He attended Valley Forge Military Academy, Wayne, Pa., and graduated from Brown University, Providence, R.I., in May 1942, with a bachelor of arts degree in political science. He entered the U.S. Army Air Corps aviation cadet program and, after attending flying schools in Ballinger, San Angelo and Lubbock, Texas, received his commission and pilot wings in May 1943.
After attending B-24 aircraft replacement training, he was assigned to the newly organized 450th Bombardment Group at Alamagordo, N.M., where he was qualified as a B-24 aircraft pilot and flight commander. In December 1943, he accompanied the 450th Bombardment Group to Italy where he flew combat missions until shot down over northern Italy in April 1944. He was interned as a prisoner of war in camps in the vicinity of Sagan, Nurnberg, and Noosberg, Germany, until April 1945 when the camp at Moosberg was liberated by the U.S. Seventh Army.
Returning to the United States, General John served briefly with the Personnel Distribution Command in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He then attended the first Air Force Public Relations School at Orlando, Fla., and remained with the school as an instructor at Orlando and later at Craig Field, Ala. In June 1947, he entered Georgetown University graduate school, and graduated in February 1949 with a master's degree in international relations.
He served for the next four years as an intelligence staff officer at Headquarters U.S. Air Force and was subsequently assigned in a similar position at Headquarters U.S. European Command, Frankfurt, Germany, and Versailles, France. In 1955, he was transferred to Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Wiesbaden, Germany.
During the period 1956-1958 General John commanded the 3302d Pilot Training Group, Spence Air Base, Ga., after which he attended the Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., graduating in June 1959. He returned to Washington where he served sequentially in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (International Security Affairs) as deputy director, Office of Operations Coordinating Board Affairs; deputy director, Coordinating Staff (National Security Council and Collateral Activities); and then chief and project director, Coordination Division, Policy Planning Staff.
General John was assigned to Headquarters Pacific Air Forces, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, in August 1963 as director, Warning and Threat Assessment; deputy director of intelligence; and director of intelligence.
In August 1966 he returned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as director of collection, Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence. He next was assigned as vice commander, U.S. Air Force Security Service, Kelly Air Force Base, Texas, in November 1969.
General John became deputy chief of staff, intelligence, at Headquarters Seventh Air Force, Tan Son Nhut Airfield, Republic of Vietnam, in December 1970. He served in that capacity until December 1971. He became special assistant to the commander in chief, Pacific Air Forces, in February 1972 and assumed his current duties in March 1972.
His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Republic of Vietnam Air Force Distinguished Service Order, 1st Class, Vietnam Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
He was promoted to the grade of brigadier general effective March 1, 1969, with date of rank Feb. 22, 1969.