Retired July 13, 1968. Died Sep. 7, 1986.
Lieutenant General Hewitt Terrell Wheless is assistant vice chief of staff, U.S. Air Force. In this position he is the principal assistant to the chief of staff and the vice chief of staff in the discharge of their duties, and takes action for them on matters not requiring their personal attention. He assists in the implementation and review of policies, plans and programs, and in the overall direction of the U.S. Air Force. As an additional duty, General Wheless is the senior Air Force member, Military Staff Committee, United Nations. In this capacity he provides United States representation on the Military Staff Committee in accordance with the terms of the charter of the United Nations and furnishes military advice and assistance to the United States Mission to the United Nations.
General Wheless was born in Menard County, Texas, in 1913. He graduated from Gulf Coast Military Academy at Gulfport, Miss., in May 1932, and attended the University of Texas from 1933 until 1936, majoring in civil engineering. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry reserve, on Jan. 7, 1935. In June 1938 General Wheless began pilot training as an aviation cadet at Randolph Field, Texas, and graduated from Kelly Field, Texas, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army Air Corps Reserve on May 26, 1939.
His first assignment was as assistant operations officer of the 38th Reconnaissance Squadron at March Field, Calif. in October 1941 he went with the 19th Bombardment Group to the Philippine Islands. From there he went to Java and Australia.
In April 1942 General Wheless returned to the United States. He served as operations officer for the 34th Bombardment Group at Geiger Field, Spokane, Wash., and in December 1942 he was assigned as deputy commander of the 88th Bombardment Group at Walla Walla, Wash., and later became commander. From October 1943 to June 1944 he was operations staff officer at Second Air Force Headquarters, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Again going overseas in June 1944, General Wheless served as director of operations for the 314th Bombardment Wing at North Field, Guam. He returned to the United States and went to Fort Worth Army Air Field, Texas, where he served as deputy chief of staff, operations, for the 58th Bombardment Wing. A year later he was assigned in the same capacity to the Eighth Air Force and in December 1946 assumed command of the Seventh Bombardment Group.
In August 1947 General Wheless was assigned to Strategic Air Command Headquarters at Andrews Army Air Field, Md., as chief of the Operations Division, and in December 1948 moved with the command to Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., to be deputy director of operations. In April 1950 he went to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., in the same capacity for the Second Air Force.
Still with SAC, General Wheless went to England in July 1951 as director of operations for the Seventh Air Division. He returned to the Second Air Force in October 1952 to become director of operations. In November 1953 he assumed command of the 306th Bombardment Wing at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., and the following April assumed command of the 801st Air Division at Lockbourne Air Force Base, Columbus, Ohio.
Assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., in April 1957, General Wheless was designated chief, War Plans Division, Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations. In a reorganization in July 1957 he was transferred to the Directorate of Plans, Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Programs, with no change in duty. In July 1958 he became deputy director for war plans, Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Programs, and in September 1958 became director of plans.
In September 1960 General Wheless became the SAC director of plans, and in July 1962 he was named SAC chief of staff.
In June 1963 he was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as the assistant deputy chief of staff, programs and requirements. He became deputy chief of staff, programs and requirements, in February 1964 and was promoted to lieutenant general. In February 1965 he became assistant vice chief of staff, U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., his present position. He was appointed senior Air Force member, Military Staff Committee, United Nations, in August 1967 in addition to his present duty.
His decorations include the Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, and the Air Medal with oak leaf cluster. He is rated a command pilot and navigator.