Retired Jan. 31, 1960. Died Nov. 20, 1983.
Manuel Jose Asensio was born in Highland Falls, N.Y., in 1906, and attended school there. Entering the U.S. Military Academy in 1923, he graduated June 14, 1927 and was commissioned a second lieutenant of Cavalry.
Assigned as assistant adjutant at Fort Jay, N.Y., he later joined the 10th Cavalry at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. On Feb. 26, 1930, General Asensio was transferred to the Corps of Engineers, and a month later was assigned to the San Francisco Engineer District. Enrolling in the University of California that September, he received his bachelor of science degree in civil engineering the following June. He then entered the Engineer School at Fort Humphreys, Va., and graduated a year later.
Going to Hawaii in August 1932, General Asensio was assigned to the Third Engineers at Schofield Barracks, and three years later moved to Fort DuPont, Del., with the First Engineers. Going to Texas in January 1936, he was named officer-in-charge of the Houston Flood Survey, and two months later became assistant to the district engineer of the Galveston District. In June 1940 General Asensio was assigned to the staff and faculty of the Engineer School at Fort Belvoir, Va. He took a two month course at the Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, Kan., in 1941 and then returned to the Engineer School.
Transferred to Brazil as a resident engineer in March 1942, General Asensiio returned to the United States the following September for an indoctrination course with the Military Intelligence Service in Washington, D.C. and was then appointed to military attache at Bogota, Columbia. In July 1943 he became engineer of the First Air Force at Mitchel Field, N.Y., and that following December assumed command of the Airborne Engineer Training Center at Westover Field, Mass. General Asensio was appointed assistant to the air engineer of the Air Service Command in the China-Burma-India theater in March 1944, and that July was named staff engineer of the 10th Air Force there. He was appointed air engineer of the Air Service Command, India-Burma Theater in June 1945 and in July became the air engineer, Army Air Forces, China Theater.
In February 1946 General Asensio was assigned to the Policy Group of the War Department General Staff in Washington, D.C. and that August was appointed air engineer of the Air Defense Command at Mitchel Field, N.Y. On Nov. 6, 1947 General Asensio was transferred from the Corps of Engineers to the Air Force.
Entering the National War College in Washington, D.C., in August 1948, he graduated the following June. General Asensio was then assigned to the Directorate of Budget, Office of the Comptroller at Air Force Headquarters, and in July 1950 was named director of budget.
On July 16, 1954 General Asensio was designated vice commander of the Continental Air Command at Mitchel Air Force Base, N.Y. Moving to Air Force Headquarters, Washington D.C., Dec. 15, 1955 he was named deputy chief of staff, comptroller, and redesignated the comptroller of the Air Force July 1, 1957.
1923 Highland Falls High School, Highland Falls, N.Y.
1927 U.S. Military Academy
1931 Bachelor of science in civil engineering, University of California
1932 Engineer School, Company Officer Course, Fort Humphreys, Va.
1941 Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
1949 National War College, Washington, D.C., June 1949
1. Commissioned second leutenant of Cavalry, U.S. Military Academy 1927
Transferred to Corps of Engineers, 1930 and assigned to:
San Francisco Engineer District 1930
University of California, Berkeley, 1930-31
Engineer School, Fort Humphreys, Va., 1931-32
Third Engineers, Schofield Barracks, Teritory of Hawaii 1932-35
First Engineers, Fort DuPont, Del., 1935-36
assistant to the district engineer, Galveston, Texas, 1936-1940
Resident engineer, Brazil, as assistant to the district engineer, Miami, Fla., 1942
3. Military attache, Bogota, Columbia 1942-1943
4. Engineer, First Air Force, Mitchel Field, N.Y. 1943
5. Commander, 1st Airborne Engineer Aviation Unit Training Center at Westover Field, Mass., and Richmond, Va., 1943-1944
6. Assistant to air engineer of the Air Service Command, China-Burma-India Theater, March 1944
7. Staff engineer of the 10th Air Force, July 1944
8. Air engineer of the Air Service Command, India-Burma Theater, June 1945
9. Air engineer, Army Air Forces, China Theater, July 1945
10. Assigned to Policy Group of the War Department General Staff in Washington, D.C., February 1946
11. Air engineer, Air Defense Command at Mitchel Field, N.Y., 1946-48
12. Transferred from Corps of Engineers to the Air Force Nov. 6, 1947
13. Assistant to Directorate of Budget, Office of the Comptroller at Headquarters, U.S. Air Force, June 1949
14. In July 1950 was named director of budget
15. On July 16, 1954, named vice commander of Continental Air Command at Mitchel Air Force Base, N.Y.
16. Designated deputy chief of staff, comptroller Dec. 15, 1955 and redesignated comptroller of the Air Force July 1, 1957
Enjoys golf and is an avid crossword puzzle fan. Also skilled at double acrostics.
Speaks Spanish fluently
Member American Society of Civil Engineers; member American Society of Military Engineers; and honorary member of the Society of Military Comptrollers.
DECORATIONS AND MEDALS
Legion of Merit Feb 26 1944
oak leaf cluster Oct. 8, 1945
Bronze Star Medal, Oct. 23, 1944
Air Medal, Oct. 23, 1944
Commendation Ribbon, March 2, 1948
Chinese Cloud Banner, March 5, 1945
UNUSUAL EXPERIENCES: While assigned as resident engineer, Brazil and located in that country, was responsible for construction on 17 air bases strung along 2,000 miles of the South Atlantic Air Transport route. Due to the conditions at the time, this assignment required him to be diplomatically accredited and to maintain good relations with high representatives of the many countries in his area of interest. In the performance of his duty, he was required to be on the "go" so much that he averaged 60 flying hours per month in keeping up with the loose ends involved in his unusual responsibility. In this assignment he made a significant contribution to the successful formation of a South Atlantic Air Transport route which was of critical importance during the early part of World War II.
In 1944-45, while assigned as staff air engineer of the Tenth Air Force in China-Burma-India Theater he was given the responsibility for the construction of air fields in northern Burma and Thailand which were needed to precede the construction of the Ledo Road and to support combat operations in that area. He pioneered the procedure for airlifting heavy air field construction equipment by air transport. Each air transport load was limited by aircraft capability to three tons, consequently the heavy equipment such as the D-7 caterpillar weighing 15 tons had to be cut into various pieces before it could be airlifted and had to be assembled and welded upon offloading in the combat area where the air fields were being constructed. Forty-eight D-7's as well as 36 pan scrapers and other heavy equipment were transported to the forward construction areas in this manner. This assignment included the responsibility for personal serial survey of sites to determine their suitability for construction of forward air strips. In line with this, General Asensio was required to make numerous operational flights at low altitude in liaison type aircraft over enemy territory and it was for this phase of his responsibility and the high degree of meritorious achievement which was involved that he was awarded the Air Medal.
OPINIONS, TASTES AND EVALUATIONS
Likes rare beef
Avoids split infinitives and prefers in his writing and speaking the concise approach. For relaxation enjoys reading "whodunits" and watching big league baseball and football. Interested in everything concerning Spain, including bullfights. Follows current events and financial news and interested in all things that are worthwhile in adding to general knowledge.
Expects high level performance from others; has understanding of problems and difficulties encountered but doesn't permit these as excuses for failure; stresses accuracy and personal integrity.
Characterized by his pleasant and agreeable manner and the unique ability to evaluate a situation in terms of its basic components.
Insists upon loyalty from his subordinates and practices what he preaches.