Retired Aug. 1, 1967.
Brigadier General Robert Charlwood Richardson III is assigned to Headquarters Field Command, Defense Atomic Support Agency, Sandia, Base, N.M., as deputy commander for weapons and training. In this position, he bears a large share of the responsibility for managing the Defense Department atomic weapon development and training activities and nuclear weapons stockpile.
General Richardson was born in Rockford, Ill., in 1918. In 1932, he attended the Gunnery School, Washington, Conn., and in 1933, entered Valley Forge Military Academy, Wayne, Pa., graduating in 1935. He received a congressional appointment from Pennsylvania to the U.S. Military Academy and graduated in June 1939.
He next attended pilot training schools in Tulsa, Okla., Randolph and Kelly fields, Texas, graduating in June 1940. In July 1940, he was assigned as a flight instructor at Randolph Field and subsequently in the advanced twin-engine school at Barksdale Field, La.
In September 1941, he was transferred to the 52nd Fighter Group, Selfridge Field, Mich., served as squadron commander and group operations officer, and went with the Group to Norfolk, Va., and Florence, S.C. In April 1942, he took command of the 1st Composite Squadron which was organized at Key Field, Meridian, Miss., and redeployed, in June 1942, to Ascension Island in the South Atlantic.
In March 1943, General Richardson returned from Ascension Island to become project officer and flight leader on the only attempt to ferry P-38s to North Africa via the South Atlantic. In April 1943, 52 of 53 aircraft were successfully delivered. Next, he was assigned as chief of the Aircraft Division, and later as chief of the Fighter Division, Army Air Force Board, Orlando, Fla.
In July 1944, he was assigned to the Operations Division, Headquarters U.S. Strategic Air Force in Europe. He served in General Spaatz's headquarters in London and Paris through December 1944. In January 1945, he was assigned to the Operations Division of Headquarters, 9th Tactical Air Command, Ninth Air Force; and in April 1945, he assumed command of the 365th Fighter Group, Upon redeployment of the 365th Fighter Group from Fitzlar, Germany, in September 1945, he remained in the Occupation Forces as chief of the Aircraft Allocation Division, Headquarters, U.S. Air Forces in Europe. In February 1946, he became assistant chief of staff for operations, European Air Transport Service.
In June 1946, General Richardson was assigned to the War Plans Division of the Air Staff in Washington. In July 1947, he was transferred to the Joint War Plans Committee, which in December 1947, upon implementation of the 1947 Unification Act, became Joint Strategic Plans Group, Joint Chiefs of Staff. Upon creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1949, he became the first Air Force planner on the NATO Standing Group and was primarily concerned with the negotiation of an agreement for Germany rearmament and for the establishment of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe.
In February 1951, he accompanied General Norstad to Europe as a member of his planning staff. In July 1951, he was designated as the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff representative and military observer to the European Defense Community Treaty Conference in Paris. In July 1953, he was assigned to the Plans Staff of the Air Deputy, SHAPE, when responsibility for U.S. military advice to the European Defense Community was transferred from the U.S. Ambassador to the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. From July 1953 to July 1955, General Richardson was special assistant to Air Vice Marshal Huddleston, Royal Air Force, Deputy Chief of Staff/Operations SHAPE, and later, the deputy director/policy, Headquarters SHAPE, serving primarily as the U.S. Air Force member of the Inter-Allied Planning Committee (New Approach Group) that developed the first plans and concept for an atomic defense of Europe.
In July 1955, General Richardson returned to the United States to attend the National War College, graduating in June 1956. He assumed command of the 83rd Fighter Wing (redesignated 4th Fighter Wing) at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C. In January 1958, he was transferred to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, to become assistant for long range objectives to the deputy chief of staff/plans and programs. He was promoted to brigadier general in May 1960.
In June 1961, General Richardson was transferred to the Military Assistance Division, Headquarters U.S. European Command, Paris, France, and upon arrival was reassigned by General Norstad as director of operations for Live Oak, the Tripartite Berlin Plans and Operations Group. Upon termination of the Berlin crisis, General Richardson was assigned as deputy standing group representative, NATO, effective Jan. 1, 1962 through Jan. 1, 1964.
Next, General Richardson was transferred to Headquarters Air Force Systems Command, Andrews Air Force Base, Md. He served as assistant to the commander, then assistant deputy chief of staff for plans, and in August 1965, was assigned as the deputy chief of staff for science and technology. On July 31, 1966, he reported to Field Command, Defense Atomic Support Agency.
General Richardson is the author of numerous articles on atomic warfare, strategy and concepts. These include: "Atomic Weapons and War Damage," ORBIS, spring 1960; "Do We Need Unlimited Forces for Limited War," Air Force Magazine, March 1959; "Forces in Being - The Weapons," Air Force Magazine, August 1958; "In The Looking Glass," Air University Review, winter 1957-1958; "Nuclear Stalemate Fallacy," Air Force Magazine, August 1956; "Atomic Weapons and Theater Warfare" (four articles) Air University Review, winter and spring 1955; "The U.S. Air Force and NATO," Air University Review, winter 1952-1953; and most recently, "Defense on the Technological Front," Air Force Magazine, June 1966.
His decorations include the Legion of Merit, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal and French Croix de Guerre with silver star. He is a command pilot.