Alvin Charles Welling was born in Covington, Ky., in 1910. While attending the University of Kentucky he was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy, where he graduated in 1933 with assignment to the Corps of Engineers.
After serving with the Huntington District of the Corps of Engineers in West Virginia and in the 3rd Engineer Combat Regiment in Hawaii, General Welling attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he obtained a masters degree in civil engineering.
In 1939 he went to Alaska as the first officer assigned in the program for increased military activity there. He carried out civil works as well as military construction at Ladd and Elmendorf air fields and at Fort Richardson.
After a brief tour with the 35th Engineer Combat Regiment, General Welling was assigned to the Alcan Highway project in early 1942. He was in charge of the southern section, and was credited with solving the most difficult problem, that of locating the route through the Canadian Rockies. For his work on the Alcan, General Welling was awarded the Legion of Merit.
He returned to the Office of the Chief of Engineers briefly, then was assigned to the China-Burma-India Theatre. In 1944 he was serving simultaneously as theatre engineer, services-of-supply engineer, and deputy chief of staff/operations in SOS. General Welling had a key role in building the Ledo Road, the "Hump" airfields, B-29 airfields, and the Bengal-Through-Burma pipelines. His performance earned him an oak leaf cluster to the Legion of Merit.
Postwar he was responsible, as theatre G-4, for the orderly carrying out of evacuation and disposal of supplies and installations. For his accomplishment of this task he was awarded a second cluster to his Legion of Merit.
In 1946 and 1947 General Welling was engineer for Tactical Air Command, renovating and maintaining TAC airfields in the U.S. In late 1947 he headed a top secret joint Air Force-Army team in a reconnaissance of the eastern half of Africa.
From 1948 to 1951 General Welling served as district engineer in Baltimore and was then transferred to Washington where he became executive to the chief of engineers, U.S. Army. Prior to his present assignment, General Welling served as engineer commissioner ("one third of the mayor of Washington") for the District of Columbia.
On Aug. 1, 1960 General Welling assumed command of the then newly organized Corps of Engineers Ballistic Missile Construction Office at Los Angeles, to expedite the construction of a billion dollars worth of ICBM sites. On March 17, 1961 he was designated as deputy for site activation in the Ballistic Systems Division of the new Air Force Systems Command. This Air Force Systems Command assignment entails responsibility for all phases of successful site activation including construction, installation, checkout and site turnover to the Strategic Air Command.
For his "outstanding record of accomplishment and his contribution to national defense as overseer of construction of ICBM bases," General Welling received Construction Man of the Year award from Kiwanis International and American Public Works Association in October 1961.