Retired Nov. 30, 1966. Died Feb. 3, 1982.
John Allen Hilger was born in Sherman, Texas, in 1909. He graduated from Sherman High School in June 1926 and attended Texas A&M College, College Station, Texas, graduating in 1932 with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering.
Gen. Hilger's military career began in May 1932 as a second lieutenant in the Infantry Reserve. Lieutenant Hilger entered the Army Air Corps flying school in February 1933 as a flying cadet. He received his wings and was placed on active duty in the Air Corps in February 1934 as a flying cadet. He was commissioned a second lieutenant, Air Corps, in February 1935, and in October 1936 received his regular commission as a second lieutenant.
Lieutenant Hilger's first duty assignment after completion of pilot training was at March Field, Calif., where he served as a pilot, assistant base adjutant and commander of the base photographic section. He was promoted to first lieutenant in October 1939.
In May 1940 Lieutenant Hilger was transferred to McChord Field, Wash., and became commander of the 89th Reconnaissance Squadron in September of that same year. He remained at McChord Field flying antisubmarine patrols until February 1942. During this period he was promoted to captain and later to major.
Major Hilger was promoted to lieutenant colonel in March 1942 and assigned as deputy commander and pilot with the famed Doolittle mission and participated in the April 18, 1942 raid on Tokyo. In September of that same year he was promoted to colonel.
In July 1943 Colonel Hilger took command of the Chinese-American bomb group in the China-Burma-India theater of operations.
During the last 18 months of World War II he served in the Western Pacific as special plans officer on the staff of the commander-in-chief Pacific area, Admiral Chester A. Nimitz.
In January 1946 Colonel Hilger was assigned to Army Air Force headquarters in the Pentagon where he served as chief of internal policy - a branch of the plans division - until August 1948. He then attended the Air War College and, after graduation, was assigned as commander of the 307th Bomb Wing located at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., and later moved to Okinawa during the Korean conflict. He then served as director of operations in the headquarters of the Sixth Air Division, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., until he entered the National War College at Washington D.C., in August 1951.
In July 1952 Colonel Hilger was assigned as chief of the allocations division - directorate of operations - in the Pentagon until July 1955 when he was reassigned as commander of the Air Force Operational Test Center, Air Proving Ground Command, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. He was promoted to brigadier general in October 1956 and continued to command the operational test center until June 1957.
General Hilger's next assignment took him to Turkey where he served as commander of the U.S. Air Force Group, Joint U.S. Military Mission for Aid to Turkey in Ankara, from June 1957 until June 1959.
In July 1959 General Hilger was assigned as chief of staff, Allied Air Forces Northern Europe (NATO) in Oslo, Norway, and served there until July 1961.
General Hilger assumed his present position as chief of staff, Air Training Command, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, Aug. 16, 1961.