Retired July 31, 1959. Died Sep. 7, 1990.
From the beginning of hostilities in Korea, General Partridge employed some of his Fifth Air Force fighters on armed reconnaissance missions. When the 24th Infantry Division fought the North Koreans at Taejon in early July, Partridge sent the Fifth Air Force to furnish close support and throughout the critical days in July the Fifth Air Force and the Eighth Army set a brilliant example of air and ground cooperation at its best.
Earle Everard Partridge was born in Wichendon, Mass., enlisted in the Army in July 1918 at Fort Slocum, N.Y., and was assigned to the 5th Engineer Training Regiment at Camp Humphries, Va. He went to France in August 1918 to join the 79th Division, participating in the St. Mihiel and Argonne operations prior to the Armistice. When the division returned in June 1919 he was honorably discharged.
Partridge spent a year at Norwich University, reenlisted in June 1920, and four years later graduated from the U.S. Military Academy as a second lieutenant in the Air Service. Partridge received flight training at Brooks and Kelly fields, Texas. He served 10 months with the 3rd Attack Group at Kelly, where he was a flying instructor until September 1929. He had been appointed first lieutenant in December 1928. Lieutenant Partridge taught mathematics at West Point for a year and then went to the Canal Zone with the 6th Composite Group at France Field. He was adjutant and assistant operations officer of the 1st Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field, Mich., in the spring of 1933. He later served there as commanding officer of the 94th Pursuit Squadron. Partridge was promoted to captain in April 1933.
In mid-July 1936 Partridge became a test pilot at Wright Field, flying many of the planes which were later used in World War II. Captain Partridge completed the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field, Ala., and the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. He became major in March 1940 and helped establish flying schools in the Southeast. Partridge started single-engine flying schools at Barksdale Field, La., and Dothan, Ala.
Major Partridge was a member of the Air War Plan's Division at Headquarters Army Air Forces from October 1941 until the following March. He was appointed lieutenant colonel in November 1941. He became a colonel and a member of the Joint Strategy Committee, Strategy and Policy Group of the War Department General Staff in March 1942. Partridge was promoted to brigadier general in December 1942 and appointed commanding general of the New York Air Defense Wing at Mitchel Field, N.Y.
That spring Partridge went overseas as operations officer for the Northwest African Air Force and became chief of staff of both the 12th Bomber Command and the Fifteenth Air Force. He moved to England in January 1944 as deputy commander of the Eighth Air Force and became major general in May. One month later General Partridge became commanding general of the 3rd Bomb Division. He became deputy commanding general of the Eighth Air Force in August 1945, assisting in its reorganization and movement to Okinawa.
Partridge returned to Headquarters Army Air Forces in January 1946 as assistant chief of staff for operations. He went to Japan in October 1948 as commanding general of the Fifth Air Force, serving through the first year of the Korean War. Partridge was promoted to lieutenant general in April 1951. On his return to the United States in June Partridge commanded the newly formed Air Research and Development Command at Baltimore, Md., until June 1953 when he went to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as Deputy Chief of Operations for Operations.
Going to Japan in April 1954 as a four-star general he became commander of the Far East Air Forces at Tokyo. Partridge returned home in July 1955 and was named commander in chief of the North American Air Defense Command and its Air Force Component, the Air Defense Command, at Ent Air Force Base, Colorado Springs. He retired from active duty July 31, 1959.
General Partridge's awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Cross; Distinguished Service Medal; Distinguished Flying Cross; Legion of Merit; Bronze Star Medal; four Air Medals; World War I Victory Medal; American Defense Service Medal; World War II Victory Medal; Korean Service Medal; United Nations Service Medal; Belgian Croix de Guerre with Palm; Companion, British Order of the Bath; French Croix de Guerre with two Palms; Chevalier, with Commander's Cross with Star, French Legion of Honor; Polish Order of Polonia Restituta; Korean Order of Military Merit.