Retired Feb. 29, 1964. Died June 11, 1998.
Harvey Thompson Alness was born in Bayport, Minn., in 1909. After attending high school in Stillwater, Minn., he entered the U.S. Military Academy in 1930, graduated June 12, 1934 and was commissioned a second lieutenant of Cavalry.
Entering Primary Flying School at Randolph Field, Texas, that September, General Alness graduated from Advanced Flying School at Kelly Field, Texas, a year later and was transferred to the Air Corps. Joining the Seventh Bomb Group at Hamilton Field, Calif., three years later he moved to Hickam Field, Hawaii, for duty with the Fifth Bomb Group. In 1940 he transferred to Godman Field, Ky., as a squadron commander and base commander, becoming executive officer of the 46th Bomb Group at Bowman Field, Ky., in December 1941. Assigned at Air Force Headquarters in July 1942, he was assistant chief of Light Bomb and Dive Bomb Requirements and Training.
Going overseas in 1943, General Alness was chief of operations for the Air Forces in the India-Burma Theater, assuming command of the Seventh Bomb Group in 1944. At the close of World War II he returned to Washington, D.C. for duty in the Strategy and Policy Group of the War Department General Staff. He was placed in command of Air Force Drone Operations for "Operation Crossroads" in January 1946 and that August he assumed command of the First Experimental Guided Missiles Group at Eglin Field, Fla.
Entering the Air War College at Maxwell Field, Ala., in August 1947, General Alness graduated the following year and remained there as a member of the staff. He entered the National War College at Washington, D.C. in August 1951 and graduated the following June.
Reassigned at Air Force Headquarters, General Alness was assistant chief of the War Plans Division, becoming chief of the division in October 1953. On April 20, 1955 he was named assistant deputy director of plans, in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations at Headquarters, becoming deputy director of plans in May 1955.
Moving to the Air Defense Command on Aug. 1, 1956, General Alness assumed duties as assistant deputy chief of staff, operations, at Headquarters Continental Air Defense Command, Ent Air Force Base, Colorado Springs, Colo. On Oct. 1, 1956 he was named deputy chief of staff/plans & operations, CONAD. On Nov. 6, 1958 he was appointed vice chief of staff, CONAD and NORAD.
General Alness was named Chief of Staff, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe at Wiesbaden, Germany, April 1, 1960. He assumed duties of vice commander-in-chief, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Aug. 1, 1961. General Alness became director, Weapons Systems Evaluation Group, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Sept. 1, 1962.
His decorations include the Silver Star with oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Commendation Ribbon with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Unit Citation, the British Distinguished Service Order and the Portuguese Order of Prince Henry the Navigator.