Retired Dec. 1, 1980. Died Feb. 10, 2004.
Brigadier General John F. O'Donnell is assistant deputy chief of staff, Operations (Operations and Training), Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va.
General O'Donnell was born in 1930, in Jersey City, N.J. He graduated from Newark College of Engineering in 1953 with a bachelor of science degree in engineering.
He was commissioned a second lieutenant in October 1953 through the Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps program. After completing pilot training at Bryan Air Force Base, Texas, in 1954, he was assigned as an Air Training Officer at the Air Force Academy, where he flew the F-86 Sabre Jet. In January 1957 he was transferred to Langley Air Force Base, Va., as an F-100 pilot with the 511th Tactical Fighter Squadron. His next assignment was at Clark Air Base, Philippines, with the 510th Tactical Fighter Squadron. While at Clark Air Base, General O'Donnell attended the U.S. Air Force Fighter Weapons Instructor Course at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., and later in 1960 represented Clark Air Base in the Pacific Air Forces Fighter Weapons competition.
He next had duty at the Air Force Systems Command offices in Los Angeles, Calif., where he worked in the early stages of the Minuteman Development Program. At the completion of this assignment, he was transferred to the Fighter Test Operations at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., as a test pilot and maintained multiple currency in the F-4, F-100, and F-105. He participated in the first article testing of munitions involving these three fighter aircraft.
General O'Donnell was assigned at Yokota Air Base, Japan, in September 1966 as an F-105 pilot. He flew 40 missions over North Vietnam in the F-105 while on temporary duty to Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, in 1967. After 19 months at Yokota, he was transferred to Korat RTAFB, Thailand, where he flew a combat four in the F-4E and the F-105. In July 1969 General O'Donnell was assigned to the Fighter Requirements Division of the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Research and Development, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, as an F-4 project officer.
General O'Donnell returned to Thailand in January 1973 for duty at Udorn RTAFB. He flew the leading-edge-slatted-F-4E and served as the assistant deputy commander for operations of the 432d Tactical Reconnaissance Wing. During the second half of this tour, General O'Donnell was assigned as chief, Tactical Analysis Division, Seventh Air Force/Headquarters U.S. Special Activities Group.
In January 1974 he was transferred to Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., as director of operations, F-4/F-15, and in August 1974 he became deputy commander for operations, with subsequent assignments as vice commander in December 1975, commander of the 58th Tactical Training Wing in April 1977, and commander of Headquarters Tactical Training, Luke, in June 1977.
He assumed his present duty as assistant deputy chief of staff, Operations (Operations and Training), Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Aug. 1, 1978.
General O'Donnell is a command pilot with more than 5,200 hours and more than 200 combat missions in the F-4 and F-105. His military decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross with three oak leaf clusters, the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal with 14 oak leaf clusters, and the Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster.
He was promoted to the grade of brigadier general Aug. 1, 1978, with same date of rank.
General O'Donnell's hometown is Fort Worth, Texas.