Retired Nov. 23, 1960. Died Dec. 1, 1968.
John Alexander Samford was born at Hagerman, N.M., in 1905. He graduated from high school in 1922 and then spent one year at Columbia College, New York City. In 1924 he received a senatorial appointment to the U.S. Military Academy. He graduated in 1928, 131st in a class of 260.
Second Lieutenant Samford's first assignment was that of a student officer at Brooks Field, Texas. In 1929 he received his Pilot Wings at Kelly Field and today is rated a command pilot.
Lieutenant Samford's first assignment after Kelly Field was Fort Crockett located at Galveston, Texas. In 1930 he returned to Kelly Field where he served as a flying instructor. In 1934 he was ordered to an Engineering and Armament School at Chanute Field, Ill. From 1935 until 1942 he held various assignments in Panama, Virginia, Louisiana and Florida.
Colonel Samford was assistant chief of staff, G-1, Headquarters Third Air Force, in Tampa, Fla., when appointed chief of staff of the VIII Air Force Composite Command located in Northern Ireland.
In 1943 Colonel Samford was appointed deputy chief of staff of the Eighth Air Force, and later chief of staff of the VIII Bomber Command.
In 1944 Colonel Samford was promoted to brigadier general and appointed chief of staff of the Eighth Air Force. In October 1944 he was appointed deputy assistant chief of staff, A-2, Headquarters U.S. Army Air Forces.
In January l947 Brigadier General Samford was appointed commander, 24th Composite Wing which soon thereafter became the Antilles Air Division of the Caribbean Air Command.
In May 1949 Brigadier General Samford was appointed commandant of the Air Command and Staff School. He was promoted to major general in 1950 and held a brief appointment as commandant of the Air War College before being appointed director of intelligence of the U.S. Air Force.
In November 1956 Major General Samford was appointed director of the National Security Agency and promoted to lieutenant general.