Retired July 1, 1974. Died Aug. 24, 2004.
Brig. Gen. Erwin A. Hesse is vice commander, U.S. Air Force Security Service, San Antonio, Texas.
General Hesse was born in Jacksonville, Fla., in 1923. He entered U.S. Army Air Corps aviation cadet training in February 1943 and was commissioned a second lieutenant and received his pilot wings in March 1944 at Craig Field, Ala.
He remained at Craig Field as an advanced single-engine flying instructor. After several other assignments in the United States he was assigned as P-47 pilot with the 79th Fighter Group in Austria in January 1946 From June 1947 to October 1950 he served with the 334th Fighter Squadron at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., and then Langley Air Force Base, Va., and flew P-80 Shooting Stars and F-86 Saberjets with a jet aerobatic team.
During the Korean War, General Hesse was an F-86 fighter interceptor pilot in Korea with the 4th Fighter Group and also group adjutant. He is credited with one MIG-15 aircraft destroyed.
From December 1951 to July 1955 he was assigned to Air Defense Command, initially as an interceptor pilot at Otis Air Force Base, Mass., and subsequently as an operations staff officer at Air Defense Command Headquarters at Ent Air Force Base, Colo. In July 1955 he entered Air Command and Staff School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
In July 1956 General Hesse was sent on a temporary duty assignment to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., to attend the F-100 Super Sabre training course; and after completion, he was assigned as flying safety officer, Headquarters 36th Fighter Day Wing, Bitburg Air Base, Germany. He was appointed operations officer, 23d Fighter Day Squadron at Bitburg Air Base in 1957 and later became commander of the 23d Squadron.
General Hesse was reassigned to Headquarters Twelfth Air Force, Waco, Texas, as operations staff officer in October 1960 and later became chief of the Tactical Fighter and Reconnaissance Flying Training Division, Directorate of Training and Operations. He was transferred in November 1962 to Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va., as chief, Tactical Fighter Branch, Directorate of Operations. In August 1963 he entered the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., and when he graduated in June 1964 returned to Headquarters Tactical Air Command as chief, Fighter Training Branch, and later was assistant chief, Fighter Division.
General Hesse was transferred in September 1965 to Tan Son Nhut Airfield, Republic of Vietnam, as assistant director of operations for the 6250th Combat Support Group; in November 1965 was assigned to Headquarters 2d Air Division as assistant chief, Current Operations; and in April 1966 was reassigned as chief, Bravo Team (a strike planning team), Headquarters Seventh Air Force.
In August 1966 General Hesse returned to the United States and was assigned to the Joint War Games Agency of the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C., as deputy chief; in February 1967 became head, Gaming Branch, General War Division; and in June 1968 was appointed chief of the General War Games Division.
He was assigned in January 1969 as vice commander of the 363d Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., and six months later was named commander. General Hesse next served as director of intelligence (J-2), U.S. Southern Command, Quarry Heights, Canal Zone.
General Hesse was transferred to U.S. Air Force Security Service, San Antonio, Texas, in August 1971 and served as special assistant to the USAFSS commander prior to assuming the position of vice commander in February 1972.
His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal with oak leaf cluster, Presidential Unit Citation Emblem with oak leaf cluster, and Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon.
He was promoted to the temporary grade of brigadier general effective Aug. 1, 1970, with date of rank July 30, 1970.