Retired Feb. 1, 1970. Died Nov. 20, 1997.
Brigadier General George P. Cole is assistant deputy chief of staff for materiel, Strategic Air Command, Offutt, Air Force Base, Neb.
General Cole was born in 1919 in New Orleans, La. He graduated from Robert E. Lee High School, Jacksonville, Fla., in 1937 and attended the University of Florida for three years prior to transferring to Texas A&M College. He entered the Army Air Corps as an aviation cadet in April 1941, and attended flying training at Americus and Macon, Ga.; and in December 1941 he graduated from advanced flying school at Selma, Ala., with a commission as second lieutenant and his pilot wings.
From 1942 to 1944, General Cole served as base aircraft maintenance officer for the Radar Training Center at Boca Raton Field, Fla. During this period he directed search and rescue operations involving a downed aircraft in which radar was used for the first time. He was cited for his efforts in locating the disabled aircraft and successfully directing rescue operations. In 1944 he attended the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
In 1945 he went to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater of Operations, and became aircraft maintenance and materiel officer for a B-29 aircraft wing. From June 1946 to July 1949, General Cole was chief of maintenance for the Joint Brazil-United States Military Commission in Rio de Janero, Brazil.
General Cole returned to the United States and served as chief of supply at Second Air Force Headquarters at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., from October 1949 to December 1952. As chief of supply, he instituted many innovations designed to help the aircraft maintenance man, foremost of which was the supply delivery system now in use throughout the Air Force. In January 1953 he became director of materiel and later vice commander of the 306th Bombardment Wing at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. This was the first B-47 aircraft equipped Strategic Air Command wing and was the first deployed with these aircraft to a forward area. He was active in the development of procedures to place the aircraft in his wing and follow-on wings on temporary duty in England and in setting up 90-day rotation procedures between United States bases in England, Spain and Morocco.
In 1955 General Cole became commander of Ben Guerir Air Base, Morocco. He returned to the United States in July 1957 to attend the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. His next assignment was as commander of Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., where he later became director of training for the 1st Missile Division.
General Cole was appointed director of materiel at Headquarters Fifteenth Air Force, March Air Force Base, Calif., in July 1960. In this position he was instrumental in accepting the first operational squadrons for Atlas, Titan and Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles into the Strategic Air Command inventory.
In July 1965 he assumed command of the 95th Bombardment Wing at Biggs Air Force Base, Texas, which was equipped with B-52 and KC-135 aircraft. He next moved to Walker Air Force Base at Roswell, N.M., where he commanded the 6th Strategic Aerospace Wing for a short period.
He was appointed commander of the 12th Strategic Aerospace Division in September 1966 at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Ariz. He became assistant deputy chief of staff for materiel, Headquarters Strategic Air Command in June 1968.