Retired Sep. 1, 1976. Died Feb. 16, 1988.
Brigadier General William C. Branan is commander of the Southern Communications Area, Air Force Communications Service, with headquarters at Oklahoma City Air Force Station, Okla. Southern Communications Area engineers, installs, operates, and maintains communications-electronics, and air traffic control, and navigational aid facilities throughout the southern half of the United States, including the Air Force Eastern and Western Test Ranges, and provides engineering and installation assistance to Central and South America.
General Branan was born in Macon, Ga., in 1924. He graduated from high school in Sanford, Fla., in 1942 and attended the University of Florida. He has a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Emory University, 1948. General Branan entered active military duty through the aviation cadet program in February 1943 and graduated from pilot training with a commission as second lieutenant in September 1944, at Freeman Field, Ind., where he remained as an instructor in the Advanced Flying School. In May 1945 he was assigned to the 3d Bombardment Wing at Rio Hato, Panama, as an aircraft commander in B-24s and later B-17s engaged in anti-submarine patrol activities. He left active duty in May 1946 and attended Emory University, Atlanta, Ga.
In August 1950 General Branan returned to active military duty and was assigned to Strategic Air Command to serve the first of his assignments within the command during the next 20 years. From August 1950 to September 1958, he served with the 2d Bombardment Wing at Hunter Air Force Base, Ga., as a B-50 and B-47 pilot and aircraft commander; in July 1957 was appointed assistant director of safety and later was director. He next went to Homestead Air Force Base, Fla., and was assigned as chief of current operations for the 823d Air Division.
In August 1960 General Branan was assigned to Headquarters Strategic Air Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., as a plans officer in the Policy Branch, Directorate of Plans. During this assignment, he was primarily responsible for congressional activities associated with procurement of advanced weapons systems for Strategic Air Command.
In July 1964 General Branan was transferred to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., where he was operations officer and later commander of the 913th Air Refueling Squadron, 2d Bombardment Wing. During 1965 General Branan served eight months in the Far East in support of Southeast Asia operations, where he flew 27 combat sorties. In October 1967 he was assigned to the 6th Strategic Wing, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, where he was chief of Reconnaissance Operations and later became commander, 24th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron.
General Branan was transferred to Ent Air Force Base, Colo., in April 1970, as executive officer to the commander in chief, North American Air Defense Command; in May 1973 was assigned as assistant deputy chief of staff for plans, NORAD; and in September 1973 became vice commander of the 14th Aerospace Force, Aerospace Defense Command.
In July 1974 General Branan assumed command of the Southern Communications Area, Air Force Communications Service, Oklahoma City Air Force Station, Okla.
His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, and Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon with three oak leaf clusters. He is a command pilot with more than 5,800 flying hours.
He was promoted to the grade of brigadier general effective Sept. 1, 1974, with date of rank Aug. 12, 1974.