Retired May 1, 1970.
William Arthur Tope was born in Pasadena, Calif., in 1916, and received a bachelor of science degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1939. He entered the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1940, and graduated a second lieutenant in the Officers Reserve Corps, from pilot training school at Brooks Field, Texas, in March 1941.
Lieutenant Tope's first assignment was as a flying instructor at Randolph Field. In 1942 he received further pilot training at the Hendricks Field B-17 school following which he was assigned to the 39th Bombardment Group at Tucson, Ariz. He became operations officer of the 449th Bombardment Group in 1943 and moved with this group to Southern Italy where he completed 53 combat missions.
In 1945 he was appointed chief of civilian personnel for the Flying Training Command. In August 1945 he was transferred to Germany as chief of civilian personnel, Headquarters, U.S. Air Forces Europe.
Attending the Air Command and Staff School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in 1949, he, upon graduation, was reassigned to the Directorate of Personnel Planning, Headquarters, U.S. Air Force. In May 1952, he attended the Jet Instrument School and All-Weather Interceptor School at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. Upon completion of this training he became the deputy wing commander of the 4708th Air Defense Wing at Selfridge Air Force Base, Mich., where in 1953, Colonel Tope assumed command of the 575th Air Defense Group, and remained there until his assignment to the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base in 1955.
Completing the Air War College course, in June 1956 he was assigned to Headquarters, Northeast Air Command, as director of operations for that command. On April 1, 1957, he became vice commander of the 64th Air Division (Defense), at Pepperrell Air Force Base, Newfoundland.
Colonel Tope attended the National War College as a student officer in August of 1959. Upon completion of this course he was assigned to Headquarters Air Defense Command at Ent Air Force Base, Colo., as assistant deputy chief of staff for personnel, and in 1961 was assigned deputy chief of staff for personnel. While in this office, he received his promotion to temporary rank of brigadier general and continued to serve as deputy chief of staff for personnel until Jan. 7, 1964, at which time he assumed his present duty assignment as director for personnel (J-1), Joint Staff, Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in Washington, D.C.
Among his many awards and decorations are the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters.