Retired July 1, 1970. Died March 18, 1988.
Brigadier General Ernest J. White is commander of the 61st Military Airlift Wing (Military Airlift Command), with headquarters at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii.
General White was born in Falls City, Neb., in 1917. He graduated from Falls City High School in 1935 and attended the University of Nebraska from 1935 to 1938. He entered the U.S. Military Academy in 1938, graduating with a bachelor of science degree in engineering and a commission as second lieutenant in May 1942. While attending the academy, he was on the varsity football, basketball and baseball teams.
Following his graduation, he received pilot training at Randolph Field, Texas, and transition training at Moore Field, Texas, Westover, Mass., and Orlando, Fla.
In 1943 General White was assigned as a flight leader in the 359th Fighter Squadron at Groton, Conn., and in September 1943, went to the European Theater of Operations with the squadron. He became the squadron commander in May 1944 and later served as the assistant director of fighters for the Eighth Air Force.
Returning to the United States in May 1945, he served as supervisor of training at Bluethenthal Field, N.C. Later that year he went to Mitchel Field N.Y., where his assignments included assistant personnel officer, chief of management and manpower, assistant to the assistant chief of staff, assistant director of operations and director of intelligence.
Following this assignment, the general went to Selfridge Air Force Base, Mich., in 1950 as commander of the 56th Fighter Interceptor Group and later was assigned as commander of the 575th Air Base Group.
He went to Korea in July 1952 where he became commander of the 502nd Tactical Control Group. A year later, he was assigned to Oxford, Ohio, as professor of aerospace science at Miami University, a position he held until October 1956. For the next month he was deputy commander of the 4622nd Air Defense Wing at Stewart Air Force Base, N.Y. Then he was assigned as deputy for intelligence and chief of staff for the Eastern Air Defense Force, North American Air Defense Region.
In January 1959, the general went to Otis Air Force Base, Mass. as deputy commander of the 551st Aircraft Early Warning Control Wing for Air Defense Command and within a month assumed command of the wing, and was also the base commander.
Following his graduation from the National War College in June 1963, he served the next four years in Washington, D.C., on the National Security Council. In August 1966, he assumed command of the 6200th Materiel Wing, Clark Air Base, Philippine Islands, and remained in that position for one year.
In July 1967 he was assigned as commander of the 61st Military Airlift Wing.
During World War II, the general flew P-47 and P-51 fighter aircraft while assigned to the Eighth Air Force in the European Theater of Operations. He flew F-86 Sabre jets while assigned to the Fifth Air Force during the Korean War. He commanded and flew Taiwan-based fighters during the Taiwan Straights Incident. He has flown a total of 235 combat missions and is credited with shooting down four enemy aircraft.
His military decorations include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Unit Citation Emblem with oak leaf cluster and the Korean Service Medal.