Retired July 1, 1967. Died May 15, 1991.
Stephen Davenport McElroy received his first military training in an infantry company of the Citizens' Military Training Corps at Fort Eustis, Va., in 1929. In 1933, he received a bachelor of science degree and a reserve commission as a second lieutenant in the Coast Artillery Corps from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Following a year of post graduate study he was awarded a master of science degree in Architectural Engineering in 1934.
He became actively interested in flying while in Texas after college and took his first solo flight at Waco, Texas, in 1935. During these years he served his required two-week tours of active duty as a Coast Artillery Reserve Officer. In 1938 he enlisted in the Army Air Corps as an aviation cadet and after completion of flying training at Randolph and Kelly fields, Texas, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Corps Reserve. In 1940, he received his regular commission.
General McElroy's early duties included such assignments as squadron operations officer of the 18th Reconnaissance Squadron, Mitchell Field, N.Y.; squadron commander, Headquarters Squadron, 13th Bomb Group at Langley Field, Va., Orlando, Fla., and Westover Field, Mass. While assigned to this organization he was detailed as a student at the Army Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., completing the course in the summer of 1941. He was at Orlando on Dec. 7, 1941, and moved with the 13th Group shortly thereafter to Westover Field.
In May 1942, he became the commander of the 40th Bomb Squadron, later designated the 4th Antisubmarine Squadron.
While under his command this squadron operated from East Coast bases of Mitchel, Westover, Langley and Key West and in the Caribbean area from bases in Cuba, Jamaica, Trinidad and Bermuda. In the spring of 1943, the unit was based briefly in Newfoundland and then moved to St. Eval, England, where it operated under the operational control of the Coastal Command of the Royal Air Force. At the end of 1943, the Antisubmarine Command was deactivated and General McElroy, then a major, returned to the States with his remaining combat crews and assigned to the B-29 program at Clovis, N.M.
In March 1944, he was assigned to a staff position in the bombardment branch of the Operations Commitments and Requirements Division of Headquarters Army Air Force in Washington, D.C. Shortly afterward he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and during this period was engaged in the B-32 combat suitability tests. These were combat bombardment missions flown for the 5th Air Force from Clark Field and the Florida Blanca Base in Northern Luzon, Philippine Islands.
Upon return to the States from this mission, he was assigned to the Military Missions Division of the Caribbean Defense Command, Panama and in January 1946, became chief of the Military Aviation Mission to the Republic of Guatemala. In this position he was instrumental in the re-equipping of the Guatemalan Air Force with U.S. aircraft, the reorganization of their Air Force, the development of a flying school and the construction of an airport. He completed this tour in the summer of 1948, and was assigned as a student at the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va.
Upon completion of the course of instruction at Norfolk, Lieutenant Colonel McElroy was assigned to the 307th Bomb Group (Strategic Air Command), MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. From January 1949 until June 1957, he served with the Strategic Air Command. His assignments included commander, 371st Bomb Squadron (B-29); director of operations, 307th Bomb Wing, MacDill Air Force Base; deputy chief of staff for operations, FEAF Bomber Command, Advanced Echelon, Okinawa; deputy chief of staff, operations, FEAF Bomber Command, Yokota, Japan; and operations officer, 6th Air Division (B-47) at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. In June 1952, he became deputy commander of the 305th Bomb Wing at MacDill and in September of that year was reassigned to Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., as deputy director personnel for the Strategic Air Command. He moved up to deputy chief of staff personnel, Headquarters SAC in December of that year. Following this assignment, he commanded the 376th Bombardment Wing (B-47) at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., for two years and in June 1957, became chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force Academy.
In January 1959, General McElroy was appointed special assistant to the commander of Headquarters Civil Air Patrol - U.S. Air Force at Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C. On April 1, 1959, General McElroy assumed command and became the National Commander of the Civil Air Patrol.
On Dec. 29, 1961, General McElroy was assigned as vice commander, 13the Air Force, at Clark Air Base in the Philippines. On May 15, 1962, he was assigned additional duties as commander, Air Force Component, Joint Task Force 116 and 6010th Tactical Group in Thailand. On Dec. 5, 1962, he resumed full time duty as vice commander, 13AF, Clark Air Base, Philippines.
On June 10, 1964, General McE1roy became commander of the Ground Electronics Engineering-Installation Agency with Headquarters at Griffiss Air Force Base, N.Y. GEEIA is the Air Force's single manager for the engineering, installation and on-site depot level maintenance of its ground Communications-Electronics systems and facilities.
General McElroy was born in Terryville, Conn., Oct. 2, 1912. He spent his early years in Virginia, residing in Appomattox, Marion and Norton. He graduated from Norton High School in 1929. After receiving his bachelor of science degree at Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1933, he continued his education at VPI and was awarded a master of science degree in architectural engineering the following year.
After completing college, he did topographic mapping and surveying and worked as a building construction inspector in Texas until enlisting as an aviation cadet in 1938.
General McElroy is a command pilot with 132 missions and 875 combat hours. His decorations and awards include: Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Bronze Star and Commendation Ribbon with three oak leaf clusters. General McElroy, a long-time light plane enthusiast, has been an active member of Air Force Aero Clubs.
General McElroy received reserve commission as second lieutenant Nov. 13, 1933; Reserve first lieutenant Nov. 30, 1936, which he resigned to enter aviation cadets. He was commissioned second lieutenant Aug. 26, 1939. He was promoted to first lieutenant Oct. 16, 1941; to captain (temporary) Feb. 1, 1942; to captain (permanent) March 1, 1942; to major (temporary) Sept. 14, 1942; to major (permanent) Jan. 22, 1943; to lieutenant colonel (temporary) July 1, 1948; to colonel (temporary) July 22, 1950; to colonel (permanent) July 1, 1954; to brigadier general (temporary) July 24, 1958.
Primary basic and advanced flying, Air Corps Flying School
Date Graduated: August 1939 Army Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
Date Graduated: 1941 Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va.
Date Graduated: February 1949 B-29 Transition School, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.
Date Graduated: June 1949 Senior Officer Military Management, Craig Air Force Base, Ala.
Date Graduated: February 1950
Aug 29, 1942 Dec 3, 1942 Caribbean Defense Command
May 31, 1943 Nov 27, 1943 European Theater of Operations
Sep 2, 1945 Aug 2, 1948 Caribbean Defense Command
Aug 1, 1950 Jul 9, 1951 Okinawa - Japan
Jul 10, 1951 Oct 17, 1951 United Kingdom
Dec 22, 1961 Jun 10, 1964 Philippines, Thailand