Retired Aug. 1, 1967. Died July 20, 1979.
General Kenneth Burton Hobson is commander of the Air Force Logistics Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The command's mission is to keep the Air Force's aerospace weapon systems ready for action. It must perform this mission at the lowest possible cost to the taxpayers and assure top combat efficiency. Its vital task makes certain that combat air commands have the logistics management needed to constantly keep their aircraft, missiles and support equipment at top efficiency.
General Hobson was born in Mount Carmel, Ill., in 1908. After graduating from high school at Ashland, Ore., in 1925, he attended the University of Oregon and the Southern Oregon Normal School. In July 1928 he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and on July 10, 1932, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry.
In November 1933, General Hobson received his pilot wings after graduating from primary and advanced flying schools at Randolph and Kelly fields, Texas. He was transferred to the U.S. Air Corps Feb. 16, 1934. General Hobson's first assignment was with the 73rd Pursuit Squadron at March Field, Calif. In February 1937 he joined the 80th Service Squadron at Albrook Field, Panama Canal Zone.
After a year of being hospitalized, General Hobson was assigned to the 22nd Bombardment Squadron in April 1940, and served at Hamilton Field, Calif., and Fort Douglas, Utah. In May 1941, he assumed command of the 22nd Bombardment Squadron and the following December moved with it to the Southwest Pacific Theater.
The 22nd Bombardment Squadron was in the process of moving to the Philippines when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Three B-17s led by General Hobson (then a major) completed the first flight from Hawaii to Australia over an emergency-devised South Pacific air route, arriving Jan. 12, 1942. Then he flew his B-17 to Java in the Netherlands East Indies, where his squadron had been diverted in an attempt to stem the Japanese advance.
General Hobson commanded the 22nd Squadron in Java, the Netherlands East Indies, and Australia until September 1942, when he became engineering officer for the Far East Service Command. The following month he was appointed operations officer, A-3 of the Fifth Bomb Command in the Southwest Pacific, and in January 1943, was named chief of staff of that command. He served in this position until June 1943.
General Hobson was then assigned to the War Department General Staff, Washington, D.C., where he served until the end of World War II. In January 1946, he was assigned to Headquarters Army Air Forces as chief of the Table of Organization and Equipment Branch, Office of the Assistant Chief of Air Staff for Operations. The following June he became chief of the Organization Division.
He entered the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in July 1947. Upon graduation in June 1948, he was assigned to Strategic Air Command Headquarters then at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., and later at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. He assumed command of the 92nd Bomb Wing at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., in June 1951.
In February 1952, General Hobson was named deputy director of manpower and organization at U.S. Air Force headquarters, Washington, D.C. He became director of manpower and organization there in July 1953.
His next assignment took him to the Far East as vice commander of the Fifth Air Force in Japan on July 15, 1956. He became commander, Ogden Air Materiel Area, with headquarters at Hill Air Force Base, Utah Aug. 3, 1959, and assumed the post of vice commander, Air Force Logistics Command (formerly AMC), Aug. 1, 1961.
General Hobson, a command pilot, became commander of the Air Force Logistics Command Aug. 1, 1965.
Among his awards and decorations are the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal.
He served on 25 aerial combat missions totaling 100 combat hours in the Southwest Pacific, and received bronze stars for the Papua, New Guinea and East Indies campaigns.