Retired Oct. 1, 1969. Died Feb. 18, 1994.
Brigadier General Eugene Lee Strickland is vice commander of the Fourth Air Force, Air Defense Command. Fourth Air Force provides men and equipment for the air defense of the Western United States.
General Strickland was born in Richland Springs, Texas, in 1917. He graduated in 1937 from North Texas Agricultural College, Arlington, Texas, with an associate in science degree. In February 1939 he received his commission and pilot wings upon completion of Army Air Corps pilot training at Kelly Field, Texas.
He served with the 27th Pursuit Squadron at Selfridge Field, Mich., and later was chief of the Pursuit Test Section of the Air Proving Ground Group -- the forerunner of today's Air Proving Ground Command -- at Eglin Field, Fla.
In July 1943 he was transferred to the Fourteenth Air Force's Chinese-American Composite Wing, where he served as squadron commander, wing director of operations, and group commander until August 1945. During that period he logged 265 combat flying hours in 76 missions in P-40 Warhawks and P-51 Mustangs, destroying six Japanese aircraft. He was awarded the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.
After World War II, he was assigned to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., as Commander of the Army Air Forces Base Unit at Phillips Field and was charged with all air testing of guns and bombs for the Army Ordnance Center and Army Chemical Center.
He graduated with the second class of the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va., in January 1948.
General Strickland spent the next three years with the Air Training Command, serving at Goodfellow, Perrin and Randolph Air Force bases, Texas, and Craig Air Force Base, Ala. The French Government awarded their honorary aviation badge to him for his work in training French pilots at Randolph and Craig Air Force bases during this period.
He graduated from the Air War College in June 1952 and was assigned to Headquarters Twentieth Air Force, on Okinawa, as deputy chief of staff, operations. He returned to the United States in June 1954 and attended the F-86D Sabrejet Combat Crew Training School at Perrin Air Force Base, Texas. He assumed command of the 4709th Air Defense Wing, McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., in September 1954. He left McGuire in July 1956 to attend the National War College, in Washington, D.C.
He next was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as chief, Combined Plans Branch, War Plans Division, in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Programs. In August 1958 he went to the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where he served as assistant director, Joint Strategic Plans Group, and as chief of the North American Division, J-3.
In July 1960, after a transition course in the F-101 Voodoo at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., General Strickland was assigned as commander of the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing at Royal Air Force Station, Bentwaters, England. For his service there he was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal. Two years later he was reassigned as deputy commander of Third Air Force, at South Ruislip, England.
Returning to the United States in June 1963, General Strickland was assigned to the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Assistant for International Security Affairs) as director, Near East South Asia Region. From there he was assigned, in October 1965, to the Inter-American Defense Board, Washington, D.C., where he served as director of the international staff. For his work there he was awarded his second oak leaf cluster to the Legion of Merit.
In August 1967 General Strickland was assigned as vice commander of the Fourth Air Force, with headquarters at Hamilton Air Force Base, Calif.
He is a command pilot with more than 4,500 flying hours. Since 1939 he has flown more than 45 different types of aircraft, including a number of jet fighters, the latest being the F-101 Voodoo.