Retired May 1, 1969. Died Oct. 10, 1990.
Brigadier General Roger Edwards Phelan is director of Air University's Aerospace Studies Institute at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. The institute conducts research, develops concepts, and prepares studies and monographs on aerospace power and its relationship to other instruments of national power. It also assists in formulating aerospace doctrine and prepares special studies in political, social, economic, military, and geographic fields.
General Phelan was born in Newport, R.I., Aug. 3, 1916. He completed his elementary schooling in Seattle, Wash., and graduated from the Northwood School, Lake Placid Club, N.Y., in 1934. The following year he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., graduating in 1939 with a bachelor of science degree. He then underwent pilot training, receiving his pilot wings at Kelly Field, Texas.
He was assigned to the Southwest Pacific Theater of Operations in February 1942 serving as executive officer and pilot with the 22d Bombardment Group (Medium). Early the following year, he served briefly as assistant chief of staff, A-3, with the advance echelon of Headquarters Fifth Air Force and then returned to the 22d Bombardment Group as commander.
In January 1944 General Phelan returned to the United States and was assigned to the 3d Bomber Command headquarters at Tampa, Fla. In May he was transferred to Washington, D.C., where he was appointed deputy chief of the Bombardment Branch, Unit Training Division, Headquarters Army Air Forces, later becoming chief of Bombardment Training at Headquarters Continental Air Force, Bolling Field, D.C. In January 1945 he was named chief of Deployment Planning, Headquarters Continental Air Force, and became an advisory council member at Headquarters Army Air Forces in October.
The general attended Air Command and Staff School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in 1946 and was a school faculty member prior to attending the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va., from September 1947 to January 1948. He then returned to Air Command and Staff School, serving in various capacities on the faculty until May 1952.
General Phelan was selected to attend the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., and, upon graduation in June 1953, was named commander of Far East Air Force's 3d Bombardment Wing in Korea. In 1954 he served four months as Fifth Air Force's Air Liaison Officer to the 7th U.S. Fleet prior to an assignment to Headquarters U.S. Air Force where he served with the Joint Staff and then in the Directorate of Plans.
General Phelan's next assignment took him to the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., where he held positions as inspector general, deputy chief of staff for operations, and chief of staff up to November 1961. He returned to Washington, D.C., to serve as executive secretary, Weapons Systems Evaluation Group in the Office of the Director of Defense Research and Engineering. In July 1963 he was named assistant deputy director of plans for policy in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations at Headquarters U.S. Air Force. He served briefly as deputy director of plans for policy prior to September 1965 when he was transferred to Paris, France, as deputy director for plans, J-3, at Headquarters U.S. European Command.
In March 1967 General Phelan returned to the United States to become director of Air University's Aerospace Studies Institute at Maxwell Air Force Base.
A jet qualified command pilot, General Phelan lists among his decorations the Joint Service Commendation Medal and the Army Commendation Medal.