Retired Aug. 1, 1977. Died June 8, 2004.
Lt. Gen. Joseph G. Wilson is commander, Allied Air Forces, Southern Europe, with headquarters in Naples, Italy, and Commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe's Sixteenth Air Force, with headquarters at Torrejon Air Base, Spain.
General Wilson was born in Richmond, Va., in 1921. He graduated from Matthew Whaley High School, Williamsburg, Va., in 1938, and attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Blacksburg, Va. In 1943 he entered active military service as an aviation cadet, received his pilot wings and commission as a second lieutenant in February 1944, and entered combat training.
During World War II, he served with the Eighth Air Force in England and completed a combat tour of duty with 300 combat flying hours.
General Wilson returned to the United States in June 1945 and served as XP-80 aircraft project officer at Wright Field, Ohio. In August 1946 he went with the first P-80 aircraft squadron to the Far East and completed a tour of duty with the 1st Air Division on Okinawa.
Upon his return to the United States in June 1948, General Wilson was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force in Washington, D.C., in the Operations and Training Division. In January 1951 he moved to Ent Air Force Base, Colo., with the advance party of Headquarters Air Defense Command and was assigned to the Fighter Plans and Operations Division. In May 1952 he was assigned as Director of Combat Operations, 64th Air Division, Northeast Air Command, Pepperell Air Force Base, Newfoundland.
General Wilson completed Air Command and Staff College in June 1955 and again was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as Executive Officer to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel. He was selected to attend the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pa., and graduated in June 1960.
He then was assigned as deputy commander for operations, 41st Air Division at Yokota Air Base, Japan. During this tour of duty, he also was commander of the Mobile Strike Force, Pacific Air Forces, and served 28-month temporary duty in Southeast Asia as commander of the 6010th Tactical Group.
In July 1964 he was reassigned to Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va., and served as director of Tactical Control Systems. From March through May 1965, he was on temporary duty to Southeast Asia as chief of the Air Force Command and Control Evaluation Team.
He became commander of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, George Air Force Base, Calif., in July 1965, and after completing training the wing moved with its F-4C Phantom aircraft to Southeast Asia. The 8th Tactical Fighter Wing was the first F-4C wing deployed in the Southeast Asian conflict. This was the third time General Wilson had commanded a tactical fighter unit in Southeast Asia.
He returned to the United States in October 1966 and was assigned to Headquarters Tactical Air Command at Langley Air Force Base, Va., where he served as assistant deputy chief of staff for personnel and in May 1967 became assistant deputy chief of staff for operations. In July 1969 be was assigned as commander of the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Force, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. General Wilson assumed command of the Nineteenth Air Force with headquarters at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., in February 1970.
General Wilson was assigned as deputy chief of staff, operations, Seventh Air Force, Republic of Vietnam, in December 1970 and assumed duties as deputy chief of staff, plans, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces, in February 1972.
In August 1972 General Wilson returned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force and was appointed assistant deputy chief of staff for plans and operations and in April 1973 became deputy chief of staff for plans and operations. He assumed command of Allied Air Forces, Southern Europe, in Naples, Italy, with additional duty as commander, Sixteenth Air Force, USAFE, in Spain, in November 1973.
His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross with five oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with 18 oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Commendati6n Medal, Army Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon with two oak leaf clusters, Combat Readiness Medal with two oak leaf clusters, and the Vietnam Distinguished Service Medal-Air Force Order.
He was promoted to the grade of lieutenant general effective May 10, 1973, with same date of rank.