Retired July 1, 1964. Died April 3, 1992.
Robert Haynes Terrill was born in Faneuil, Mass., in 1910. He graduated from high school in Fitchburg, Mass., and attended Worchester Polytechnic Institute for one year. In July 1928, he entered the U.S. Military Academy and upon graduation June 10, 1932 was commissioned a second lieutenant of infantry.
In July 1932, he was attached to the Air Corps and assigned to flying school at Kelly Field, Texas. In October 1933, he received his pilot's wings and in February 1934 was transferred to the Air Corps. Today he is a command pilot and is current in both jet and conventional aircraft. He also wears the Air Force Guided Missile Insignia awarded in March 1961 while commander, Air Proving Ground Center, Air Research and Development Command.
In October 1933, he was assigned to the 18th Pursuit Group at Wheeler Field, Hawaii, and in December 1935 returned to the U.S. for assignment to the 17th Attack Group at March Field, Calif. In January 1942, he became assistant operations officer of the Fourth Air Force at Hamilton Field, Calif., and later became its operations officer.
In November 1942, Lieutenant Colonel Terrill assumed command of a provisional group at Davis-Monthan Field, Ariz., and continued in command of the group when it moved to Alamogordo, N.M., and Topeka, Kan; in March 1943, he took the group to Cairo, Egypt. He returned to the United States, and in April 1943, was placed in command of the 382nd Bomb Group at Pocatello, Idaho; later that year he formed, trained and took overseas the 445th Bomb Group. In July 1944, he was appointed assistant chief of staff for operations of the 2nd Air Division, and in May 1945, he became deputy chief of staff for operations of the Eighth Air Force. His World War II service, including participation in combat missions, earned him the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, the Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star Medal, the Air Medal, and the French Croix de Guerre with Palm.
From September 1945 until June 1946, Colonel Terrill served as deputy chief of military studies for the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey in Tokyo, Japan, and Washington, D.C. In July 1946, he became an instructor in tactics at the Air War College, and in August 1947 became chief of staff for operations of the Air University.
From June 1948 until May 1951, he commanded the 93rd Bomb Wing at Castle Air Force Base, Calif. During this period, his wing won the 1949 SAC Bombing Competition and attained one of the highest ratings in SAC for its overall activities. With this wing, he pioneered and proved the efficacy of offset radar bombing, attained radar reliability with the Q-24 system and greatly improved the circular error in radar bombing. At the beginning of the Korean action, he took the wing, recently converted to B-50 aircraft, to bases in the United Kingdom, and despite meager support facilities and dispersal problems, maintained both its high state of training and an effective mission capability.
As commanding general of Far East Air Forces Bomber Command during the period May-September 1951, he flew combat missions and met an increasing fighter threat to bomber forces by the introduction of new tactics that reduced attrition without loss of bombing effectiveness. For service during this period, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.
He was appointed deputy commander of the Fifteenth Air Force, March Air Force Base, Calif., in October 1951, and served briefly as its commander in July and August 1955. His service during this period earned him another oak leaf cluster to the Legion of Merit.
In August 1955, Major General Terrill became director of operations of the Strategic Air Command at Offutt Air Force Base Neb., and served in that capacity until July 1958. For this period of service, he was awarded another oak leaf cluster to the Legion of Merit for implementing new tactics and means for controlling and launching the entire SAC force that assured that its targets would be struck in the face of any predictable defensive systems.
From July 1958 until late August 1960, he served as Air Force member of the Joint Strategic Survey Council, advisers to the Joint Chiefs of Staff on strategy and politico-military matters.
On Aug. 26, 1960, he assumed command of the Air Proving Ground Center, Air Research and Development Command, Eglin Air Force Base Fla.
One year later, on Aug. 15, 1961, he became vice commander of the Air Defense Command, Ent Air Force Base, Colorado Springs, Colo.