Military Bios

Brigadier General William H.B. Erwin:

Military Branch:United States Airforce
Retired March 1, 1968.  
Brigadier General William Horace Bruce Erwin is executive to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, located near Casteau, Belgium. He is responsible for the organization, direction and functioning of the SACEUR's office and immediate staff.
General Erwin was born in Chicago, Ill., in 1915. He graduated from John Brown High School, Siloam Springs, Ark., in 1932 and received a bachelor of arts degree in music from Park College, Parkville, Mo. He also has a master's degree in international affairs from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. Upon completion of aviation cadet training at Kelly Field, Texas, he received his pilot wings and commission as a second lieutenant in the Army Air Corps in 1941.
General Erwin next served as a fighter pilot at Hamilton Field, Calif., in Australia, the Netherlands East Indies, New Caledonia and New Hebrides until March 1943. Upon return to the United States, he was assigned as squadron operations officer, section commander and assistant director of training in units of the Second Air Force at Rapid City, S.D., Peterson Field, Colo., and Mountain Home Army Air Field, Idaho. General Erwin then attended Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and in April 1945 returned to Mountain Home where he served again as assistant director of training and later as supervisor of flying training. In December 1945 he became base adjutant of the 423d Army Air Forces Base Unit, Walla Walla, Wash.
In August 1946 General Erwin was transferred to Neubiberg, Germany, where he served as operations officer and later as director of training with the 357th Fighter Group. In November 1947 he was assigned to the U.S. Forces in Austria and served as executive officer of the Air Section, chief of the Air Division and chief, Civil Affairs Branch, Air Force Section. Returning to the United States in June 1950, he attended the Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
In January 1951, General Erwin was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., where he served as chief, Protocol Section, Foreign Liaison Branch; and staff planning officer and politico-military affairs officer, in the International Branch of the Director of Plans, Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations. Following this assignment, he attended the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., and after graduation in 1954 remained as a member of the faculty.
General Erwin was transferred to England in September 1958 and served as deputy chief of staff, intelligence for the Third Air Force. In September 1961 he returned to the United States and was assigned as deputy assistant director of plans for National Security Council Matters, Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. He held this position until July 1963 when he became special assistant, Joint Matters, Office of the Director of the Joint Staff, Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C.
In August 1966 the general was assigned to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, Paris, France, as secretary of the staff. He assumed his present duties as executive to the supreme allied commander Europe, Casteau, Belgium, in July 1967.
General Erwin in a command pilot, qualified in both jet and conventional aircraft. His military decorations include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster and the Distinguished Unit Citation with oak leaf cluster.


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