Retired Aug. 1, 1969.
General Howell Marion Estes Jr., is commander of the Military Airlift Command. MAC operates a global military airlift system - plus air rescue, air weather, photo audio-visual and carto-geodetic services and aeromedical evacuation systems throughout the world.
General Estes was born in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., in 1914. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in June 1936 and began his military career at Fort Bliss, Texas. He was appointed platoon and troop commanding officer of the 7th Cavalry, and later was assigned to Headquarters First Cavalry Division, as aide to the commanding general. He entered pilot training school in June 1939. Upon graduation in April 1940, he transferred to the Army Air Corps and subsequently was assigned as a flight instructor at Brooks Field, Texas.
In August he was appointed commandant of cadets at the Brooks Field Advanced Flying School. He became director of flying for the school in July 1942 and was redesignated director of training the following year. In February 1944 he assumed command of Blackland Army Air Base, Waco, Texas. With the closing of Blackland, he assumed command of Lubbock Army Air Field at Lubbock, Texas, in July 1944.
In January 1946 General Estes became chief of the Plans and Policy Branch, Operations Division, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, at Wiesbaden, Germany. He was named chief of the plans section, Operations Division in April and three months later was designated deputy assistant chief of staff, operations. In November 1947 he became assistant chief of staff, plans, at USAFE.
He returned to the United States and in June 1949 completed courses at the Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. He was then assigned to March Air Force Base, Calif., where he assumed command of the 1st Air Base Group and shortly thereafter became deputy commander and chief of staff, 22d Bombardment Wing and later became commander of the wing. In January 1951 he became commander of the 44th Bombardment Wing at March Air Force Base.
During the Korean War, General Estes was on temporary duty overseas from March to July 1951 as vice commander of the Far East Air Forces Bomber Command. During that time, he flew 25 combat missions over Korea with a total of 328 hours in B-29s.
He assumed command of the 320th Bombardment Wing at March Air Force Base in August 1951 and was named commander of the 12th Air Division in 1952. In October, as an additional duty, he was designated commander, Air Task Group 7.4, Joint Task Force Seven, for the overseas atomic test, Operation Castle. He relinquished command of the 12th Air Division in July 1953 and took active command of Air Task Group 7.4. During the operational phase of operation Castle in 1954, he spent four months at the Pacific Proving Grounds on Eniwetok Island.
General Estes was assigned as Director of Weapon Systems Operations, Wright Air Development Center of the Air Research and Development Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, in July 1954. This directorate was transferred to the Office of the Deputy Commander for Weapon Systems, ARDC, in August 1955, and became known as Detachment 1 at which time General Estes became assistant deputy commander for weapon systems, Headquarters ARDC and commander, Detachment 1.
General Estes was transferred to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., as the assistant chief of staff, air defense systems, in August 1957, and was reassigned as assistant deputy chief of staff, operations, in June 1958. In April 1961 General Estes became the deputy commander for aerospace systems, Air Force Systems Command, in Los Angeles, Calif., and in October 1962, he became vice commander of AFSC at Andrews Air Force Base, Md.
In July 1964 General Estes became commander of the Military Airlift Command (then the Military Air Transport Service) with headquarters at Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
General Estes was presented the General H.H. Arnold Trophy, the highest military honor given by the Arnold Air Society, on April 26, 1967 for outstanding contributions to military aviation and aerospace programs.
His military decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal (Air Force), Distinguished Service Medal (Army), Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross, and Air Medal with oak leaf cluster. He is rated a command pilot.
1931 Graduate Hampton High School, Va.
1936 Graduate U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y.
1940 Primary and Advanced Flying Schools, Randolph and Kelly fields, Texas
1949 Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
1. June 1936 - June 1939, various duties, 7th Cavalry and 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Bliss, Texas
2. June 1939 - April 1940, flying school, Love, Randolph and Kelly fields, Texas
3. April 1940 - February 1944, commanding officer, 23d Pursuit Squadron; commandant of flying cadets; and then director of training, Brooks Field, Texas
4. February 1944 - June 1944, commander, Blackland Army Air Base, Waco, Texas
5. July 1944 - December 1945, commander, Lubbock Army Air Force Base, Lubbock, Texas
6. January 1946 - July 1948, chief, Plans and Policy Branch; chief, Plans Section; deputy assistant chief of staff, operations; and later assistant chief of staff, plans, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces, Europe
7. July 1948 - June 1949, student, Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
8. June 1949 - February l951, commander, 1st Air Base Group; deputy commander and commander, 22d Bomb Wing; commander, 44th Bomb Wing, March Air Force Base, Calif.
9. March 1951 - July 1951, 98th Bomb Wing, Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., with temporary duty to Korea as vice commander, Far East Air Forces Bomber Command
10. August 1951 - July 1953, commander, 320th Bomb Wing and later commander, 12th Air Division, March Air Force Base, Calif.
11. August 1953 - July 1954, commander, Air Task Group 7.4, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., with temporary duty on Eniwetok Island during operational phase of Operation Castle
12. July 1954 - August 1957, director, Weapon Systems Operations, Wright Air Development Center; assistant deputy commander for weapon systems with additional duty as commander, Detachment 1, Headquarters ARDC, and director of systems management, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio
13. August 1957 - March 1961, assistant chief of staff, Air Defense Systems; and later assistant deputy chief of staff, operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
14. April 1961 - October 1962, deputy commander, Aerospace Systems (Air Force Systems Command), Los Angeles, Calif.
15. October 1962 - July 1964, vice commander, Air Force Systems Command, Andrews Air Force Base, Md.
16. July 1964 - present, commander, Military Airlift Command, (formerly Military Air Transport Service), Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Distinguished Service Medal (Air Force)
Distinguished Service Medal (Army)
Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters
Distinguished Flying Cross
Air Medal with oak leaf cluster
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation Medal (Japan and Germany)
National Defense Service Medal with service star
Antarctica Service Medal
Korean Service Medal with four service stars
United Nations Service Medal
Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon with six oak leaf clusters
Guided Missile Insignia
(Date of Rank: July 19, 1964)