Retired Nov. 1, 1968. Died March 31, 1992.
Harry Albright French, chief of staff of the Air Force Communications Service, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., was born in Harrisburg, Ark., in 1915. He attended the local schools in Harrisburg and graduated from the Harrisburg High School in 1932. After spending two and one half years at Arkansas State College, and half a year as a clerk-surveyor in the Public Works Administration, he entered the U.S. Military Academy.
He received his commission at West Point as a second lieutenant June 11, 1940, and was assigned to the Corps of Engineers with duty at the primary flying school at Tuscaloosa, Ala. He graduated as a pilot at Maxwell in March 1941 and was transferred to the Army Air Corps in the 8th Pursuit Group at Mitchel Field.
In May 1941, he was assigned to the 57th Fighter Group, and in September moved to Bradley Field, Conn. At the start of World War II, he moved with the 57th Group to Logan Airport, Boston, Mass., and qualified as a chief controller in the Boston Defense Center.
From Boston, in July 1942 as a captain, he moved with the 57th to Palastine via flying a P-40 off the U.S. Navy carrier "Ranger," off-shore at Accra, Gold Coast, Africa, and then along the aircraft ferry route to Cairo, Egypt. He was assigned to the IX Fighter Command, and in October 1943 as a lieutenant colonel moved with it to England. He was assigned to the 100th Fighter Wing as deputy commander and moved with it as a colonel into France in July 1944. In December 1944, he assumed command of the 19th Tactical Control Group (Provisional). At the end of the war in Germany, he moved with an advance echelon to the V Fighter Command in the Philippines. In September 1945, he returned to the continental United States and in December joined the 502nd Tactical Control Group at Biggs Field, Texas, as commander. He moved with the 502nd to Greenville Army Air Base, S.C., in January 1947.
In August 1948, he was enrolled under the U.S. Air Force Educational Program (AF Letter 50-2l) as a graduate student in business administration (managerial) at Stanford University. Upon graduation, he received his master of business administration degree in May 1950 and was assigned as commander of the 541st AC&W Group, Selfridge Air Force Base, Mich. Later in 1950 he was assigned as vice commander, 30th Air Division (Def) also at Selfridge Air Force Base.
In July 1952, he was assigned as chief, Electronics Systems Division, Directorate of Communications, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. He was next assigned as a student to the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and on graduation in 1956 went to Alaska as commander, 1804th Airways and Air Communications Wing. In 1958, he was transferred to the Alaska Air Command as director, Integrated Communications System, Alaska.
In July 1959, he rejoined the Airways and Air Communications Service as commander, Continental AACS Area, Tinker Air Force Base. Upon activation of the Air Force Communications Service in July 1961, he was assigned to the Headquarters at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., as the deputy chief of staff for plans and programs. In June 1963, he moved into his present assignment as chief of staff, Headquarters Air Force Communications Service. He is a command pilot and was promoted to brigadier general in February 1964.
General French has received the following decorations: Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Air Force Commendation Medal, Croix de Guerre with Palm (France), Distinguished Unit Badge with oak leaf cluster and Air Force Longevity Service Award with four oak leaf clusters.
Graduate, Harrisburg High School, 1932
Student, Arkansas State College, 1932-1935
Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, 1940
Master's degree - Stanford University, 1950
Graduate, Industrial College of the Armed Forces, 1956
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second lieutenant June 11, 1940
First lieutenant Oct. 10, 1941 June 11, 1943
Captain April 24, 1942
Major July 7, 1942
Lieutenant colonel Dec. 25, 1942 July 1, 1948
Colonel June 10, 1944 July 1, 1954
Brigadier general Feb. 24, 1964
1. September 1934 - June 1935 - enlisted in 206 Coast Artillery, Arkansas National Guard
2. July 1935 - October 1936 and September 1937 - June 1940, U.S. Military Academy
3. September 1940 - March 1941, Flying schools at Tuscaloosa Airport and Maxwell Field, both in Alabama
4. April - May 1941, Pilot, 8th Pursuit Group, Mitchel Field, N.Y.
5. May - August - December 1941, Pilot 64th Fighter Squadron, 57th Fighter Group, Mitchel Field, N.Y.
6. August - December 1941, Pilot 64th Fighter Squadron, Bradley Field, Conn.
7. January 1942 - June 1943, Operations officer, 57th Fighter Group, Logan Airport, Mass and European Theater of Operations
8. June 1943 - April 1944, 0perations officer IX Fighter Command ETO.
9. April 1944 - December 1944, Deputy commander, 100th Fighter Wing ETO.
10. January 1945 - June 1945, Commander, 19th Tactical Control Group (Provisional) ETO
11. July 1945 - October 1945, Operations liaison officer, V Fighter Command, Pacific Theater Operation
12. January 1946 - September 1947, Commander 502nd Tactical Control Group, Biggs Field, Texas, and Greenville, S.C.
13. September 1947 - May 1950, Student, Stanford University
14. June 1950 - December 1950, Commander, 541st AC&W Group, Selfridge Air Force Base, Mich.
15. December 1950 - June 1952, Vice commander, 30th Air Division (Def), Selfridge Air Force Base, Mich.
16. July 1952 - August 1955, Chief, Electronic Systems Division, Directorate Comm-Electronics, Headquarters U.S. Air Force
17. August 1955 - June 1956, Student, Industrial College of the Armed Forces
18. June 1956 - July 1958, Commander, 1804th AACS Wing, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska
19. July 1958 - June 1959, Director, Integrated Communications System, Alaska, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska
20. July 1959 - June 1961, Commander, Continental AACS Area, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.
21. July 1961 - June 1963, Deputy Chief of Staff/Plans and Programs, Headquarters AFCS, Scott AFB, Ill.
22. June 1963 - To date, Chief of Staff, Headquarters AFCS, Scott AFB, Ill.
DECORATIONS AND MEDALS
Legion of Merit
Air Force Commendation Medal
Distinguished Unit Badge
Croix de Guerre with Palm (France)
American Defense Medal
EAME Campaign Medal
Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal
American Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal
World War II Occupation Medal (Germany)
National Defense Medal
Air Force Longevity Service Award