Retired Aug. 1, 1969.
Lieutenant General Charles Houston Terhune Jr., is vice commander of the Air Force Systems Command, Andrews Air Force Base, Md. AFSC is responsible for the advancement of aerospace technology, its adaptation to operational aerospace systems, and the acquisition of qualitatively superior aerospace components and materiel required for the accomplishment of the Air Force mission. Within its sphere of activity are research, development, procurement and production functions.
General Terhune was born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1916. His family moved to Indianapolis, Ind., where he graduated from Broad Ripple High School. He graduated from Purdue University in 1938 and received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering, with a major in aeronautical subjects. He then attended basic and advanced flying schools in the Army Air Corps and received his pilot wings in May 1939 at Kelly Field, Texas.
He next was assigned to the First Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field, Mich. In November 1939 he went to the Wright Field Materiel Division, Army Air Corps, Dayton, Ohio, where he spent six months in the Armament Laboratory as Range Officer, participating in early tests of bullet-proof fuel tanks for aircraft. In May 1940 he began postgraduate studies at the California Institute of Technology and the following June received his degree in aeronautical engineering.
General Terhune returned to Wright Field in July 1941 and served for two years as chief, Design Branch, Aircraft Laboratory, Engineering Section, Army Air Forces Materiel Center. He then was assigned for two years to the Fighter Branch, Aircraft Project Section, Engineering Division. During this time he was associated with the development of the first jet aircraft for the Army Air Forces - the P-59 and P-80, He first flew a jet in the fall of 1943.
In May 1945 General Terhune was assigned to the Pacific Theatre, where he joined the 58th Fighter Group as executive officer. He participated in combat missions from the Philippines and Okinawa until the end of World War II. Subsequently, he went to Japan and was commander of the Third Air Commando Group and later of the 49th Fighter Group. During his last year of oversea service the general was chief of maintenance for the Far East Air Forces.
General Terhune was transferred to Washington, D.C., and first became associated with the Air Force Guided Missile Program in April 1947 as chief, Air to Surface Section, Guided Missiles Branch, Headquarters Army Air Forces.
In 1950 he became chief, Guided Missiles Branch, Deputy Chief of Staff, Developments, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. During this time he helped formulate Air Force Guided Missile Program policies and served on various joint Army-Navy-Air Force working groups.
In January 1951 General Terhune was assigned to the Office of the Secretary of Defense as Air Force assistant to the director of guided missiles. In 1953 he was assigned as director of development, Air Force Special Weapons Center, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. During this time he was responsible for Air Force development of nuclear weapons in aircraft and guided missiles.
General Terhune was one of the first five officers to be assigned to the Air Force Ballistic Missile Program, when in August 1954 he became deputy commander of technical operations, Western Development Division of Air Research and Development Command. In June 1957 the division was reorganized as the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division, and he continued as deputy commander for Ballistic Missiles, then vice commander, AFBMD, until August 1960. During this six-year period, General Terhune was instrumental in the formulation and implementation of the management concepts which have brought intermediate range and intercontinental ballistic missiles to operational status through the combined efforts of a vast government-science-industry team.
In August 1960, General Terhune assumed duty as deputy commander of the Air Force Command and Control Development Division, Air Research and Development Command. He became vice commander of the Electronic Systems Division in April 1961 and then Commander of ESD of the Air Force Systems Command, formerly Air Research and Development Command, at L.G. Hanscom Field, Mass., in February 1962.
In July 1964, General Terhune assumed command of the Aeronautical Systems Division, AFSC, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. He assumed his present duty as vice commander, AFSC, on May 1, 1967.
His decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit and Air Medal with oak leaf cluster.