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Chaplain (Brig. Gen.) Augustus F. Gearhard:

Military Branch:United States Airforce
Died March 31, 1975.
Augustus Francis Gearhard was born in Milwaukee, Wis., in 1893. After graduating from high school in Milwaukee in 1911, he entered St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee, where he completed his course of studies and was ordained a diocesan priest from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee on June 17, 1917.
He then was curate at St. Michael's Parish in Milwaukee until March 1918, when he was commissioned a first lieutenant in the Army and assigned as a chaplain with the American Expeditionary Forces in France.
Upon returning to the United States in June 1919, he received an honorable discharge from the Army and resumed his position as curate at St. Michael's Parish. In 1920 he became curate at St. Mary's Parish, also in Milwaukee, and four years later became rector of the Fenwick Home for Boys in that city, where he remained until reentering on active duty in January 1942.
Chaplain Gearhard was commissioned a captain in the Army Reserve Nov. 26, 1924, and during the following 17 years served two-week period of active duty, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel on March 18, 1936.
On Jan. 2, 1942, he was recalled to extended active duty as a lieutenant colonel and assigned as chaplain of the Fourth Air Force, with headquarters at San Francisco, Calif. The following September he became chaplain of the Fifth Fighter Command at Fort Lawton, Wash.
Chaplain Gearhard moved with the Fifth Fighter Command to Australia, arriving in November 1942, and a month later became chaplain of the Fifth Air Force in the South Pacific theater. From July to December 1943, he served as chaplain of the Fifth Air Force Service Command in the South Pacific, after which he was reappointed chaplain of the Fifth Air Force in that theater. In August 1944, he went to Queensland, Australia, to become chaplain of the Far East Air Forces. In that capacity he served until the end of hostilities; moving with that organization to Hollandia, New Guinea, in September 1944; and to Leyte, Philippine Islands, in January 1945, and to Manila, Philippine Islands, in March 1945.
Chaplain Gearhard returned to the United States in January 1946 to become a patient at Bolling Field Station Hospital, Washington, D.C. The following June he was named chaplain of the Air Defense Command at Mitchel Field, N.Y.
On April 11, 1949, he was appointed chaplain of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe, with station at Wiesbaden, Germany.
Chaplain Gearhard returned to the United States in August 1950, and the following month became deputy chief of Air Force Chaplains at U.S. Air Force headquarters, Washington, D.C.
Chaplain Gearhard was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross during World War I and the Silver Star and Legion of Merit During World War II.
He was promoted to colonel in the Army Reserve May 3, 1943, and upon the establishment of the U.S. Force on Sept. 18, 1947, was transferred to the Air Force Reserve. He was promoted to brigadier general in the Air Force Reserve on Aug. 11, 1950, with date of rank from Aug. 6, 1950.

 

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