Military Bios

Brigadier General John E. Dougherty:

Military Branch:United States Airforce
Retired Aug. 1, 1961.  
John Eugene Dougherty was born in Minneapolis, Minn., in 1916, and graduated from high school in that city in June 1933. He attended St. Thomas College of St Paul, Minn., and received a bachelor of science degree in political science from the University of Minnesota.
General Dougherty started his military career with the Minnesota National Guard in October 1934. Upon completion of primary and advanced flying training at Randolph and Kelly fields, Texas, in February of 1939, he was assigned to the 11th Squadron of the 7th Bomb Group at Hamilton Field, Calif. He moved with this unit to Fort Douglas, Utah in October 1940. His assignments there were as co-pilot, navigator, bombardier and pilot of the B-18s and B-17s of the group. He departed the United States on Dec. 29, 1941 for the Netherlands East Indies. After the evacuation of our forces from Java in March 1942, he was assigned to the 19th Bomb Group in Australia and New Guinea. He became group operations officer of the 19th Bomb Group and returned with the unit in December 1942 to the United States.
With the formation of the 2nd Bomber Command of the Second Air Force in 1943, he became assistant chief of staff, A-3 (Operations and Training), at Fort Wright, Wash. Following the disbandment of the Bomber Command headquarters, he assumed command of the 399th Bomb Group, Heavy, at Wendover Air Force Base, Utah, and transferred with it to March Air Force base, Calif. With the advent of the B-29 upon the operational scene, General Dougherty was assigned to the 500th Bomb Group of the 73rd Bomb Wing as commander during its organizational phase. He went overseas as deputy group commander, and on Dec. 3, 1944, assumed command of the 500th Bomb Group in the Mariana Islands during the campaign against the Japanese Home Islands.
Upon conclusion of the air operations in the Pacific, General Dougherty returned to the United States on Oct. 26, 1945, and was assigned to the War Department General Staff is operations staff officer.
He was assigned as chief of training section, Directorate of Operations in the Strategic Air Command in July 1948, and moved with the headquarters to Offutt Air Force Base. In December 1949, he assumed command of the 93rd Bomb Group, Castle Air Force Base, Calif. With the reorganization he became wing director of operations and training, then deputy wing commander, and 93rd Bomb Wing commander.
General Dougherty served as director of operations for the 15th Air Force at March Field, Calif., from February 1953 to August 1954.
In August 1954 General Dougherty attended the National War College, Washington, D.C., and upon graduation in August 1955, was appointed chief of the Operational Plans Division of the Directorate of Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, later becoming chief of the War Capabilities Group of that directorate, and later chief of the Operations Control Division.
He assumed command of the 38th Air Division, Hunter Air Force Base, Ga., June 23, 1958. The general then went to Headquarters ARDC, Andrews Air Force Base, Washington, D.C., as assistant to the commander, ARDC, Sept. 8, 1959, deputy chief of staff for intelligence later that year, and deputy chief of staff for personnel at Headquarters ARDC in 1960.
He is rated command pilot.
Likes to fix things around the house; plays fast-action sports such as handball and squash; fond of fishing and bird hunting; amateur water-skier. Member of the Rotary Club of Savannah, Ga.
Silver Star with two oak leaf clusters
Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Distinguished Flying Cross with four oak leaf clusters
Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster
Distinguished Unit Badge with three oak leaf clusters
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with four stars
World War II Victory Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Legion of Merit
When dining out, likes Chinese, Mexican and Italian food, prepares a fine Hungarian Goulash at home; wears conservative civilian dress clothes, gayly colored sports apparel; like a nice size family home with plenty of room for house guests. Reading tastes include works on scientific subjects, international politics and non-fiction, literature by Ogden Nash; prefers semi-classical music, has a collection of records; in art his choice runs to realists; likes a warm climate with low humidity; enjoys West Coast scenery. "Get with it" or "Let's" are favorite expressions; wants to be as useful as possible; time doesn't mean anything if there's a job to be done; is a perfectionist. Stresses accuracy, loyalty and sincerity in all personal relationships, sets an example for efficient operation and economy of time, likes forward-thinkers. Open-minded, constantly alert to find a better operating procedure, shuns nitpicking, carries his share of the load, attends to his own details to insure accuracy and conciseness. Letters from mothers of enlisted personnel in his command have cited a feeling of trust and faith in their commander. One of his captains stated that "his Irish friendliness and fair policies made him one of the most popularly liked 'C.O.'s.'" It required an order from higher headquarters to prevent him from personally leading more than his quota of combat missions. A long-time friend noted that "Jack is always on the move getting something done."
Lead the first major night raid on Japanese-held Rabaul harbor using parachute flares for aiming the bombs. Using a B-17 Flying Fortress as a "dive-bomber," destroyed a large cargo ship and damaged a 10,000 ton troop ship.
Headed the Aug. 7, 1942 daylight B-17 raid that suppressed Japanese air activity from Rabaul airfields, thus protecting U.S. Marine landings on Guadalcanal. Although his aircraft was damaged and one gunner killed, the bombing accuracy and results were exceptional. Photos showed almost every bomb struck the target.
In B-29s, he participated in the first attack on Tokyo in October 1944. Flew as group leader on the famous low-level firebomb raid of Tokyo on March 9, 1945, and the May 29th daylight incendiary raid which nearly annihilated Yokohama.
Flew the Air Force's last mission against the Japanese homeland on Aug. 14th. His target was the Osaka Arsenal. The surrender broadcast was heard on the return flight.
Flew his first combat mission in January of 1942 in an LB-30 type aircraft (modification of the early B-24). His aircraft heavily damaged by enemy fighters and with four wounded crewmembers aboard, he crash-landed on a tiny island between Java and Borneo. The entire crew was rescued ten days later and rejoined combat units in the battle for Java, thence to Australia and New Guinea.
Returning from a long-range bombing and weather reconnaissance mission, adverse winds forced him to ditch a B-29 in the Pacific Ocean 120 miles south of Saipan. This was the first B-29 to ditch in which all the crewmembers survived.
On two occasions he safely landed B-29's after sustaining major battle damage. Once a huge portion of the flap and aileron was shot away. Another battle damage incident forced him to be one of the first few B-29s to use Iwo Jima as an emergency landing field.
He was one of two War Department General Staff representatives that initiated "on the spot" planning of American aid to the Greeks against the guerillas as a result of the "Truman Doctrine."
While on the General Staff he participated in the planning for the move of 150,000 Jews to Palestine from West Germany in 1947.
Has been a very familiar face at the SAC bombing competition as SAC representative, Air Force Arbitration member and competitor. He was commander of the 93rd Bombardment Wing that tied for first place in 1951.
Suffered a severe leg wound on his first combat mission.


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