Retired Sep. 1, 1961. Died March 30, 1993.
William Leroy Kennedy was born in 1904 at Leggett, Texas. He attended high school in Beaumont, Texas, and upon graduation entered Texas A&M where he received a bachelor of science degree in 1928.
Commissioned in the Officers Reserve Corps on May 28, 1928, General Kennedy entered flying training as a flying cadet shortly thereafter and upon graduation in 1933 was assigned to Luke Field, Hawaii. During his tour there he served as an engineering and armament officer. Upon his returned to the United States in 1935 General Kennedy was assigned as an instructor at the Advanced Flying School at Kelly Field, Texas.
Reassigned in 1941, General Kennedy served as commander of Laredo Air Base, Texas until 1943 when he went overseas and a short time later, while flying a combat mission, his aircraft was damaged over Germany. Taken prisoner after ditching in the Tyrrhenian Sea, General Kennedy was interned in Germany until 1945.
From 1946 until 1948 General Kennedy served as a student in the Air War College, the War Department Strategic Intelligence School and the National War College, respectively.
Serving as executive officer in the Office of the Assistant for Atomic Energy in Headquarters U.S. Air Force until January of 1950, General Kennedy was then named director of operations and deputy for Air Force at the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project, Sandia Base, N.M.
Returning to Germany in 1951, General Kennedy was assigned as deputy assistant chief of staff for operations with the U.S. Air Forces, Europe, with Headquarters at Wiesbaden, Germany. On Feb. 2, 1952 he was named commander of the 126th Bomb Wing (Light) which was later re-designated as the 38th Bomb Wing.
Upon his return to the United States in July 1954, General Kennedy joined the Tactical Air Command as deputy for personnel, with station at TAC Headquarters, Langley Field, Va.
Going overseas again, on Aug. 1, 1958 the general assumed duties of chief of staff, Allied Air Forces South Europe, SHAPE, with duty station at Naples, Italy.
His decorations include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, the Air Medal, Commendation Ribbon with two oak leaf clusters, and the French Legion of Honor. He is rated a command pilot.
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
He was promoted to second lieutenant (permanent) Feb. 4, 1930; to first lieutenant (temporary) March 12, 1935; to first lieutenant (permanent) Aug. 1, 1935; to captain (permanent) Jan. 6, 1940; to lieutenant colonel (temporary) Jan. 5, 1942; to major (temporary) Feb. 1, 1942; to colonel (temporary) March 3,1942; to major (permanent) April 2, 1947; to colonel (permanent) April 2, 1948; to brigadier general (temporary) July 25, 1955.