Died March 6, 1979.
William John Clinch was born in Quincy, Calif., in 1904. He graduated from Hitchcock Military Academy at San Rafael, Calif., in 1921 and attended the University of Nevada.
General Clinch was appointed a flying cadet in October 1928. Upon his graduation from primary and advanced flying schools, a year later he was rated a pilot and commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Reserve. He received his regular commission as a second lieutenant of Air Corps, Jan. 6, 1930. His first assignment was with the first observation Squadron at Mitchel Field, N.Y.
February 1931 saw General Clinch at the Presidio of San Francisco, Calif. Then he was assigned to Crissy Field, Calif. In 1934 he took the Air Corps Technical School Photography course at Chanute Field, Ill., and returned to Crissy Field as utilities officer for the 91st Observation Squadron.
General Clinch went to Luke Field, Hawaii in December 1934 and the following two years served with the Fourth Observation Squadron and the 7th Bomb Squadron. He was named transportation officer at Brooks Field, Texas, in December 1936, and in January 1938 became a flying instructor and flight commander at Randolph Field, Texas. In June 1940 he was appointed adjutant of the Gulf Coast Training Center at Randolph Field.
In September 1941 General Clinch was transferred to Army Air Force headquarters in Washington, D.C., as chief of the promotions unit in the Personnel Division of the Air Staff. The following March he was appointed executive officer of the Military Personnel Division.
General Clinch went overseas in August 1944 to become director of personnel and administration for Army Air Force headquarters in the Pacific Ocean area. He returned to the United States in 1945 and was assigned as assistant chief of staff for personnel, Air Transportation Command, with headquarters at Gravelly Point, Va. In September 1946 he entered the National War College and upon graduation in June 1947 became an intelligence staff officer for the Central Intelligence Agency. In November 1948 he was appointed executive to the assistant secretary of the Air Force.
General Clinch was named chief of staff, Eighth Air Force, with headquarters at Carswell Air Force Base, Texas, in October 1949. In January 1951 he was assigned as director of military personnel policy in Office of the Secretary of Defense.
On Aug. 8, 1951, he became deputy director of personnel and administration at Air Materiel Command. He became director of personnel and training there in November 1951. In March 1953 he was redesignated director of personnel and support operations, Air Materiel Command.
In March 1954 General Clinch assumed command of the Fifth Air Force (Rear) of the Far East Air Forces. He was assigned as special assistant to the commander of the Fifth Air Force, FEAF in May 1954 for duty with the Military Armistice Commission in Korea. General Clinch was again transferred to Japan in March 1955 where he was appointed deputy commander, Fifth Air Force.
He returned to the United States and assignment as deputy commander for education, Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in September 1956.
Is fond of woodworking, hunting, music and golf (he shoots in the high seventies). Likes to play the guitar and sing, particularly Hawaiian songs.
DECORATIONS AND MEDALS
Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster
Bronze Star Medal
American Defense Service Medal
Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal
Army Commendation Medal
World War II Victory Medal
Philippine Liberation Ribbon
Korean Service Medal
United Nations Service Medal
Philippine Independence Ribbon
Air Force Longevity Service Award with six oak leaf clusters
Korean Ulchi with Gold Star
OPINIONS, TASTES AND EVALUATIONS
He is especially fond of Chinese food, which he likes to prepare himself. Prefers gray or dark civilian dress. He likes adventure and historical stories. Prefers the San Francisco climate.
In 1930 while riding as an observer in an O-1E, the plane spun in from 700 feet at Sandy Hook, N.J. Although the aircraft was demolished, General Clinch and the pilot received only minor injuries.