Retired Aug. 1, 1975. Died Aug. 23, 1995.
Lieutenant General John B. Hudson is vice commander, Air Force Systems Command, Andrews Air Force Base, Md.
General Hudson was born in 1922, in Sylvester, Ga., where he graduated from Sylvester High School in 1939. After attending Marion Institute, Marion, Ala., for one year, he was admitted to the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., and graduated in June 1943 with a bachelor of science degree, a commission as second lieutenant and pilot wings. He had taken primary pilot training at Douglas, Ga., and basic and advanced pilot training at Stewart Field, N.Y., during 1942 and 1943. He was in the first class of the academy cadets to receive pilot training at Stewart Field. He became a command pilot in 1958.
His initial assignments were to Craig Field, Ala., for P-40 pilot training and Richmond, Va., for P-47 pilot training. In September 1943 he was assigned to the 371st Fighter Group at Camp Springs, Md., now named Andrews Air Force Base, and in January 1944 he went to the European Theater of Operations with the 371st Group. During World War II, he flew 82 combat missions over Europe in P-47 aircraft as flight commander and operations officer of the 404th Fighter Squadron and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and 14 Air Medals. During 1944 and 1945, he was assigned to London and Paris in the Directorate of Post Hostilities Plans, Headquarters U.S. Army Air Forces, Europe.
At the end of World War II in August 1945, General Hudson was assigned to Air Proving Ground Command, Eglin Field, Fla., as aircraft project officer in the Proof Division, fighter test pilot, and squadron commander. During the period April 1948 to February 1950, he was assigned to the Headquarters U.S. Air Force Inspector General unit at Langley Air Force Base, Va., as inspection team captain. Following this assignment he returned to the Air Proving Ground Command to serve as a squadron commander from March 1950 to February 1951.
From March 1951 to December 1953, General Hudson was in French Morocco and served with the initial cadre during the negotiations with the French government on building Strategic Air Command bomber bases in French Morocco. He was assigned to Casablanca, Nouasseur and Headquarters 5th Air Division (Strategic Air Command) at Rabat until December 1953, serving as deputy base commander and assistant inspector general.
From January to June 1954, General Hudson was a student at the Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. He then was assigned to the Western Development Division, Air Research and Development Command, as one of the first officers to be associated with the intercontinental ballistic missile development program at Los Angeles, Calif. For his services as deputy commander for program management and later deputy commander for resources, he earned his first Legion of Merit and was one of the initial recipients of the Missileman Badge.
General Hudson entered the National War College, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C., in August 1959. In June 1960 he became deputy chief and later was chief of the Colonels Assignment Group, Deputy Chief of Staff, Personnel, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. His efforts in the career management and assignments of colonels throughout the Air Force earned him his second Legion of Merit.
In August 1963 General Hudson returned to the ballistic missile and space program in Los Angeles, where he became assistant deputy for engineering and later deputy for launch vehicles, Space Systems Division. He was awarded his third Legion of Merit and earned his Master Missileman Badge for directing the launch vehicle activities of the Air Force space program. In this assignment he was responsible for developing launch vehicles and space vehicles used by the Air Force and NASA, such as the Scout, Thor, Atlas, Titan II Gemini launch vehicle, Agena, and the Gemini Agena used to rendezvous, dock and maneuver by Gemini astronauts.
In August 1966 General Hudson became deputy chief of staff, personnel, at Air Force Systems Command Headquarters, Andrews Air Force Base, Md., and in July 1969 he became deputy chief of staff, operations. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal after this assignment. In August 1970 General Hudson became vice commander, Aeronautical Systems Division (Air Force systems Command), at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
In August 1972 he was reassigned to Air Force Systems Command headquarters at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., as deputy chief of staff, systems, and in October 1973 assumed duties as vice commander.
General Hudson's hometown is Haines City, Fla.