Retired April 1, 1970. Died May 19, 1997.
Lieutenant General William Brett Kieffer is commander of Eighth Air Force with headquarters at Westover Air Force Base, Mass. As commander, General Kieffer is responsible for a mixed force of bombers, tankers and missiles, dispersed geographically, extending south from Goose Air Base, Labrador, to Ramey Air Force Base in Puerto Rico, and west from Loring Air Force Base, Maine, to Clinton-Sherman Air Force Base, Okla.
General Kieffer was born in 1914, at Schofield Barracks in the Territory of Hawaii. He joined the U.S. Army as a private in 1932. In 1934, he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., graduated in 1938, and then attended flying schools at Randolph and Kelly fields, Texas, and graduated in 1939.
For a period of three years, he was a flying instructor at Kelly Field and then Stockton, Calif. During the early part of World War II, General Kieffer was director of training successively at La Junta, Colo., and at Stewart Field, N.Y. He next joined the Eighth Air Force in Europe where he commanded the 486th Bomb Group in the United Kingdom.
Following World War II, the general had a short tour of duty in the Pentagon and then became assistant air attache with the U.S. Embassy in London. In August 1949, he entered the Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., graduating in July 1950. He then returned to Washington, D.C., and served as a staff officer on the Military Liaison Committee to the Atomic Energy Commission and then on the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project.
After General Kieffer graduated from the National War College, Washington, D.C., in June 1954, he was assigned to the Air Research and Development Command and re-entered the special weapons field as director of development and then deputy commander of the Air Force Special Weapons Center at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.
The general was assigned as commander of Task Group 7.4 in October 1957, working at Kirtland and at Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands. During this time, he participated in Operation Hardtack.
In September 1958, General Kieffer was assigned to Hunter Air Force Base, Ga., serving as director of operations of the 38th Air Division and later as commander of the 2d Bombardment Wing. In July 1960, he became commander of the 45th Air Division at Loring Air Force Base, Maine.
General Kieffer served as director of personnel, Strategic Air Command from September 1961 until he assumed duties as assistant deputy chief of staff, personnel, at Headquarters U.S. Air Force in October 1964.
In March 1967, General Kieffer assumed command of SAC's Eighth Air Force.
The general holds a command pilot rating. His decorations include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster; Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal and the Croix de Guerre (France).