Retired Aug. 1, 1972. Died Sep. 23, 1977.
Lieutenant General Alonzo A. Towner is the surgeon general of the U.S. Air Force.
General Towner was born in Chicago, Ill., in 1910, and his family moved to Wichita, Kan., in 1913. He received his bachelor of arts degree from the Municipal University of Wichita (now Wichita State University) and his bachelor of science degree and doctor of medicine degree from the University of Kansas. After completing his internship at the Deaconess Hospital in Spokane, Wash., he engaged in private practice in Nezperce, Idaho.
He entered military service in February 1940 and was assigned to the Fourth Infantry at Fort George Wright, Spokane, Wash. While serving as regimental surgeon for the Fourth Infantry, he obtained his private flying license. Following completion of the Aviation Medical Examiner Course, in 1940, he was assigned as surgeon of the 89th Reconnaissance Squadron, Fort George Wright.
In 1942 he became commander of the Smoky Hill Army Air Field Hospital, Kan., and in September 1943 was assigned an additional duty as Deputy Surgeon of the XX Bomber Command. In 1944 he was transferred to the office of the Air Surgeon where he served in the operations division until reassigned in August 1945 to the Surgeon's Office, Headquarters U.S. Army Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific, Guam.
In January 1946 he went to the Philippines as deputy surgeon of Pacific Air Command, U.S. Army, and in February 1946 became surgeon of the 7th Air Force, Hickam Field, Hawaii. In May 1948 he was reassigned to the Office of the Surgeon General, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, in Washington, D.C., for duty in the Care of Flyer Branch. During November and December 1948, he spent approximately six weeks flying day and night on the Berlin Airlift, making a comprehensive aeromedical survey of fatigue and moral factors involved in the operation.
When the Air Force Medical Service was established in 1949, he became chief of the Aviation Medicine Division, Office of the Surgeon General. During this time he consolidated all the activities pertinent to the duties of flight surgeons and published AFR 160-9, "Aircrew Effectiveness Program," which for the first time provided comprehensive coverage and guidance to flight surgeons on all activities pertinent to the specialty of aviation medicine.
After serving as surgeon of the 8th Air Force from October 1951 to July 1956, he was assigned as surgeon of the 7th Air Division at South Ruislip, England. Upon his return to the United States in August 1959, he was assigned as surgeon of the Second Air Force at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., and in August 1961 became surgeon of the Strategic Air Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.
General Towner became deputy surgeon general of the U.S. Air Force in July 1966 and the surgeon general in May 1970.