Retired April 1, 1974. Died Feb. 27, 1989.
Major General Albert R. Shiely Jr. is commander of the Air Force Electronic Systems Division of the Air Force Systems Command. Located at Laurence G. Hanscom Field, Bedford, Mass., the division's mission is to plan, program, design and manage the acquisition of electronic command, control and communications systems for the U.S. Air Force and other Department of Defense agencies.
General Shiely was born in 1920, in St. Paul, Minn., where he graduated from St. Thomas Military Academy in 1937, and began his military career as an enlisted man in the 206th Infantry, Minnesota National Guard. He was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy in 1940 and graduated in 1943. He qualified as a military pilot while a cadet and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps.
During World War II, General Shiely served as a B-24 aircraft commander, instructor pilot and operations officer with several heavy bombardment groups in the United States. He served overseas as a B-24 aircraft commander and flight commander with the 15th Air Force in Italy.
In the postwar period, General Shiely attended the University of Illinois, graduating in 1947 with a master's degree in electrical engineering and began a long period of service in Air Force research, development and engineering.
From 1947 to 1954 his assignments included planning and management of electronics research for the Electronics Subdivision, Air Materiel Command, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, where he was active in the early research and development of electronic general purpose digital computers. This was followed by duty with the Royal Air Force as a research and development exchange officer at the Royal Aircraft Establishment in Farnborough, England, and then by service with Headquarters Air Research and Development Command, where General Shiely was charged with management of the development of electronic navigation, traffic control and identification systems.
In August 1954 General Shiely was assigned as the U.S. Air Force engineering manager for three major electronic air defense systems: the Semi-automatic Ground Environment System for control of all air defense weapons defending the United States; the Distant Early Warning Line deployed across Arctic North America for warning of air attack; and the White Alice Communications System to provide communication for defense of Alaska. These programs pioneered the application of many new technologies to military requirements including conversion of radar information to digital form, the first extensive use of the tropospheric scatter communication technique, and the first use of large-scale general purpose digital computers for real time control of weapon systems, The Weapon System Project Office management system was applied for the first time to electronic systems.
In September 1957 General Shiely was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, where he served with the assistant chief of staff, Air Defense Systems, and the Air Defense Division, Directorate of Operations. He was concerned with the operational readiness of the worldwide U.S. Air Force Ground Control and Warning Systems for air defense and tactical air.
After graduation from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, in July 1962, General Shiely was assigned to the Electronic Systems Division of the Air Force Systems Command where he served as program director for three major electronic systems, including a major air defense system for U.S. Forces in West Germany; as deputy commander for Surveillance and Control Systems; and during 1965-1967 as vice commander of the division.
General Shiely assumed command of the European Communications Area, Air Force Communications Service, in July 1967, with responsibilities for providing communications, navigational aids and air traffic control services to the U.S. Air Force, the Defense Department, and other government agencies throughout Europe. He also served as deputy chief of staff for Communications-Electronics for the commander in chief, U.S. Air Forces in Europe. During this period, major improvements in communications were realized with the successful introduction of the automatic voice network and the automatic digital network throughout Europe.
General Shiely assumed duty as vice commander, Air Force Communications Service in August 1969. He became commander of the Air Force Electronic Systems Division in November 1971.
His military decorations include the Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters, Air Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, and Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon.
General Shiely's hometown is St. Paul, Minn.
He was promoted to the temporary grade of major general effective April 1, 1970, with date of rank Aug. 10, 1965.