Retired July 1, 1974. Died Dec. 2, 1975.
General John C. Meyer is the commander in chief of the Strategic Air Command and director of the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. SAC is the nation's major nuclear deterrent force with bombers, tankers and reconnaissance aircraft and intercontinental ballistic missiles. The Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff coordinates the nation's nuclear war plans and develops the Single Integrated Operations Plan.
General Meyer, born in Brooklyn, N.Y., attended schools in New York and graduated from Dartmouth College with a bachelor of arts degree in political geography. He enlisted in the Air Corps in November 1939. In July 1940 he was commissioned a second lieutenant and awarded pilot wings.
After several flying assignments as a pilot and commander, he was assigned to the Eighth Air Force in England. There he commanded the 487th Fighter Squadron and led it into combat during World War II. In November 1944 he was deputy commander of the 352d Fighter Group and the leading American Ace in Europe (37 1/2 aircraft destroyed in the air or on the ground). By the end of the war he had flown 200 combat missions with 462 combat flying hours.
In 1948 General Meyer was selected as the Secretary of the Air Force's principal point of contact with the U.S. House of Representatives. General Meyer then returned to a tactical flying unit in August 1950 when he assumed command of the 4th Fighter Group at New Castle, Del. He took his F-86 Sabrejet group to Korea where it flew in the First United Nations Counteroffensive and Chinese Communist Forces Spring Offensive campaigns. He destroyed two communist Mig-15 aircraft, bringing his total of enemy aircraft destroyed to 39 1/2.
After a tour of duty as Director of Operations for Air Defense Command and Continental Air Defense Command, General Meyer graduated from the Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in June 1956, and was retained as an instructor at the college. He was then assigned to Strategic Air Command where he commanded two air divisions in the Northeast United States. In July 1962 he moved to the headquarters of SAC at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., as the deputy director of plans, and also served as the commander in chief Strategic Air Command's representative to the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff.
In November 1963 General Meyer became the commander of the Tactical Air Command's Twelfth Air Force with headquarters at Waco, Texas. Twelfth Air Force provided tactical air units for joint logistic and close air support training with Army ground units stationed in the western half of the United States.
In February 1966 he was assigned to the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff where he served first as deputy director and then vice director of the Joint Staff. In May 1967 he became the director of operations on the Joint Staff.
He was then selected to be the vice chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, and assumed those duties in August 1969. He served as the vice chief of staff through April 1972. On May 1, 1972, he became the seventh commander in chief of the Strategic Air Command, and the director of the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff.
General Meyer's military career has included a very broad variety of Air Force and joint assignments. He has held operational jobs in air defense interceptors, tactical fighters and strategic bombers. He has also been a key member of the Joint Staff, the Headquarters U.S. Air Force staff, and the Strategic Air Command staff. He has been called upon to command major tactical and strategic units, and is now the commander in chief of the Strategic Air Command.
His military decorations include the Distinguished Service Cross with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Silver Star with oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with six oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with 14 oak leaf clusters, Croix de Guerre with palm (France), and Croix de Guerre with palm (Belgium). In March 1973 be received the Frank Hawks Memorial Award for his many contributions to aviation.