Retired May 1, 1978. Died March 1, 1989.
Brigadier General Erskine Wigley is vice commander, Twenty-first Air Force, Military Airlift Command, McGuire Air Force Base, N.J.
General Wigley was born in 1925, in West, Miss., where he graduated from West High School. He attended Trinity University, the University of Hawaii, and the University of Maryland. He received a bachelor of science degree in business administration and personnel management in 1957, and a master's degree in 1958 from Jackson College, Honolulu. He entered the Army Air Corps in 1943 and earned his pilot wings and commission as a second lieutenant through the aviation cadet program at Foster Field, Texas, in February 1945. He then attended fighter transition and gunnery training.
In August 1945 General Wigley was transferred to Scott Field, Ill., as a single-engine pilot instructor. He later became an orientation and counseling officer at the Separation Center. Soon after his release from active duty in December 1946, he reenlisted and continued serving as a separation counselor and also as a sergeant major. In January 1948 he was recalled to active duty as a commissioned officer and assigned to Ladd Air Force Base, Alaska, as assistant base classification officer, personnel, and later was administrative officer and adjutant of the consolidated supply squadron.
General Wigley returned to the continental United States in December 1949 and was assigned to the 1700th Air Transport Group at Kelly Air Force Base, Texas, where he performed duties as assistant classification and assignment officer, pilot, squadron adjutant, and group personnel officer. In May 1954 he was reassigned as assistant group personnel officer at Travis Air Force Base, Calif.
In February 1955 he went to Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, where he served as pilot, aircraft commander, instructor pilot, and flight commander in the 47th Air Transport Squadron. After 14 months in these duties, General Wigley returned to the personnel field as director of personnel for the 1502d Air Transport Wing at Hickam.
General Wigley completed Academic Instructor School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in June 1958 and then reported to Grinnell College in Iowa as assistant professor of air science. The next year he became associate professor and detachment commander.
In June 1960 he was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Personnel, where he served as chief, Audio Visual Aids and Manuals Branch and as chief, Headquarters and Joint Agencies Control Branch, Colonels Assignment Group. In 1962 he was transferred to the Office of the Secretary of Defense as chief, Military Personnel Branch, Assistant Secretary of Defense, Manpower. He graduated from the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in July 1965.
General Wigley was transferred to Goose Bay, Labrador, as commander of the 54th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, MAC, and remained with the squadron when it was relocated at Pease Air Force Base, N.H. Throughout this period, the 54th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron was actively involved in every space mission and General Wigley served as commander of all airborne recovery forces in the Pacific on the Apollo/Saturn (AS-202) launch vehicle development test. General Wigley was with the 54th squadron when it conducted a sustained successful surface-to-air recovery mission. He also flew the first HC-130/H-3 refueling configuration from a fixed-wing aircraft to a helicopter with a suspended spacecraft.
In July 1968 he was transferred to Scott Air Force Base, Ill., as assistant director and later became director of assignments, in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Personnel, Headquarters Military Airlift Command. He also served as the prime personnel representative for MAC aircrew capability and on several personnel committees dealing with new policies and programs. After two years in personnel assignment duties, he attended C-141 pilot training and in September 1970 went to McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., as vice commander of the 438th Military Airlift Wing.
General Wigley was commander of the 1550th Aircrew Training and Test Wing, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, from August 1972 until March 1973 when he assumed command of the 63d Military Airlift Wing at Norton Air Force Base, Calif. He became commander, U.S. Forces, Azores and 1605th Air Base Wing, Lajes Field, Azores, in January 1975.
General Wigley assumed his present position as vice commander, Twenty-first Air Force in November 1977.
He is a command pilot with more than 6,000 flying hours in various types of aircraft from single-engine fighter to four-engine jet heavy transport aircraft, including P-40, C-47, C-54, C-97, C-131, HC-130, C-141 Starlifter, and helicopters.
His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, and Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.
He was promoted to the grade of brigadier general May 1, 1973, with date of rank April 24, 1973.