Retired Nov. 1, 1965. Died Dec. 18, 1980.
Brig. Gen. Wilbur W. Aring is commander of the Third Air Force Reserve Region, with headquarters at Dobbins Air Force Base, Ga. The Third Region is responsible directly to the Continental Air Command for operation of the Air Force Reserve program in seven southeastern states - Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee, and North and South Carolina.
A command pilot with more than 5,000 hours flying time, General Aring was a member of the Air Corp's famous Skylark aerial demonstration team formed in the mid 1930's. The Skylarks were an early version of today's precision flying teams, one of which is the Thunderbirds.
During World War II, General Aring served with the 12th Air Force in North Africa, flying 13 combat missions. On the fateful 13th mission, he was shot down and became a prisoner of war in Germany. After 21 months as a prisoner of war, he escaped in April 1945.
For his wartime service, General Aring was awarded the Silver Star, the Air Medal with oak leaf cluster, the American Defense Medal, the Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal with four battle stars and bronze arrowhead, and the World War II Victory Medal.
Following World War II, he served as assistant chief of War Plans Division in Headquarters U.S. Air Force, and commanded the 38th Bomb wing (Tactical) at Laon, France from 1954 until August 1957. He then returned to U.S. Air Force Headquarters in Washington, D.C., where he was deputy director of personnel planning. His next assignment was at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., where he served as deputy chief of staff for personnel for the Air Force Missile Test Center until he was named to command the Third Region May 1, 1961.
A native of Dayton, Ohio, the general graduated from Stivers High School and attended Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. He graduated from Capital with a bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Psychology and English. His military schools include the Air War College and the National War College, serving on the faculty of the former for two years.