Retired July 31, 1978. Died Dec. 12, 2000.
General William John Evans is commander, Allied Air Forces Central Europe and commander in chief, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, with headquarters at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
General Evans was born in Norwich, Conn., in 1924. He graduated from St. Mary Parochial School and in 1942 from Norwich Free Academy. He was offered a scholarship to Yale University and entered that summer. Later that year he received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., which he entered in July 1943 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army Air Corps and received a bachelor of science degree in military engineering in June 1946.
He next entered fighter transition training at Williams Field and gunnery school at Ajo, Ariz. His first tactical assignment was with the 20th Fighter Group at Shaw Field, S.C., in November 1946.
In June 1948 he was transferred to the 475th Tactical Fighter Group at Itazuke Air Base, Japan. At the start of the Korean War in June 1950, he flew P-51 aircraft with the 35th Tactical Fighter Group from Tsuiki, Japan, and Taegu, Korea. Later that year he was transferred to Headquarters Fifth Air Force at Taegu, where he continued to fly intelligence missions for the headquarters. Before returning to the United States in 1951 he had completed approximately 130 combat missions in P-51, P-80, T-6 and L-5 aircraft.
From September 1951 to March 1952, he was assigned to the Air Research and Development Command, Baltimore, Md. In April 1952 he was transferred to the 479th Tactical Fighter Wing at George Air Force Base, Calif., where he commanded the 434th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, equipped with F-51 and later F-86 aircraft.
In April 1954 he returned to the Far East as executive officer to the commander, Far East Air Forces. In July 1955 he was assigned to Headquarters Air Defense Command, and in July 1956 he returned to George Air Force Base to command the 436th Fighter-Day Squadron, equipped with F-100 aircraft. In 1958 he became director of operations for the 479th Tactical Fighter Wing and was responsible for the conversion of the wing to F-104 aircraft.
In August 1959 General Evans entered the Army War College of Carlisle Barracks, Pa., and after graduation in June 1960 was assigned to the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va., where he served on the faculty until June 1964.
General Evans next was transferred to Wheelus Air Base, Libya, and served as deputy for operations and later as vice commander of the 7272nd Flying Training Wing, the weapons training center for the U.S. Air Forces in Europe.
He volunteered for Southeast Asia duty in 1966 and was transferred to the Republic of Vietnam in May 1967 as vice commander, and later was commander of the 31st Tactical Fighter Wing at Tuy Hoa Air Base. Before returning to the United States in May 1968, he completed 278 combat missions in the F-100 aircraft.
In June 1968 General Evans was assigned as assistant deputy director for concepts and operational readiness, Defense Communications Planning Group, Washington, D.C., and in June 1969 he assumed duties as the deputy director.
In February 1970 General Evans was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., as special assistant for sensor exploitation, a newly created office. He was transferred in April 1971 to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Research and Development, as director of operational requirements and development plans, and in September 1971 he become director of development and acquisitions. In April 1972 General Evans became assistant deputy chief of staff, research and development, and in August 1973 he was appointed deputy chief of staff, research and development.
General Evans became commander of the Air Force Systems Command, Andrews Air Force Base, Md., in August 1975. He assumed his present duties as commander, AAFCE and commander in chief, USAFE on July 29, 1977.
He is a command pilot with more than 6,200 flying hours to his credit, the majority of which are in fighter aircraft, including the P-51, P-82, P-80, F-84, F-86, F-100, F-102, F-104, F-4, F-5, F-111, A-7, F-14, and F-15; Canadian CF-100, British Harrier, Vampire and Meteor; French Mirage; and Swedish Viggin. He has also flown the B-1, the DC-10, the T-43A, the YC-14 and the YC-15.
General Evans' military decorations and awards include the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Silver Star, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal with 24 oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Republic of Vietnam Commendation Medal, and Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation.
He was promoted to the grade of general Sept. 1, 1975, with date of rank Aug. 30, 1975.