Retired Sep. 1, 1980. Died March 30, 1992.
Major General Anderson W. Atkinson is assistant vice director for attaches and training, Defense Intelligence Agency, Washington, D.C.
General Atkinson was born at Fordyce, Ark., in 1923. He graduated from Fordyce High School in 1941 and attended Syracuse (N.Y.) University for one year prior to enlisting as an aviation cadet in the Army Air Forces. In 1943 he entered the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N. Y., graduating in June 1946 with a bachelor of science degree. He received a master's degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1956 after two years residency and graduated from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C., in 1967.
General Atkinson was commissioned a second lieutenant when he graduated from the academy. He entered transition training in P-51s at Williams Air Force Base, Ariz., and then went to Ajo, Ariz., to complete gunnery training. In November 1946 he reported to the 63rd Fighter Squadron, 56th Fighter Group, at Selfridge Air Force Base, Mich., initially flying P-51H's and converting to P-80A's in March 1947. In March 1949 he was assigned to the 66th Fighter Squadron, 57th Fighter Group, at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. In June 1951 he transferred to the 27th Fighter Squadron at Griffiss Air Force Base, N.Y., flying F-86s. This unit converted to F-89s, back to F-86s and finally to F-94C interceptors prior to his departure in August 1954.
Following advanced degree work at the University of Michigan, General Atkinson was assigned to the Air Defense Element at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory, Hanscom Field, Mass. He worked on the operational design and weapons integration of the semi-automatic ground environment system from June 1956 to September 1960. He then transferred to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., and served in the Directorate of Operational Requirements, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations, until July 1964. General Atkinson next had a two-year assignment in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations, Headquarters United States Air Forces in Europe, Wiesbaden Air Base Germany, prior to attending the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
In June 1967 Genera Atkinson become the deputy commander for operations of the 15th Tactical Fighter Wing at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. In April 1968 he assumed duty as the chief, Command Center Branch, Seventh Air Force, Tan Son Nhut Air Base Republic of Vietnam. In November 1968 he was assigned as deputy commander for operations of the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing, Da Nang Air Base, Republic of Vietnam. He flew 114 combat missions in Southeast Asia in the F-4.
Upon his return from overseas in June 1969, he was assigned to the 3560th Pilot Training Wing, Webb Air Force Base, Texas, as deputy commander for operations until March 1970 when he took command of the wing. In August 1971 General Atkinson become vice commander of the Sheppard Technical Training Center, Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas.
He was assigned to the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C., in July 1973. He was chief of the Pacific Division (J-3) and in July 1975 become assistant deputy director in the Directorate of Operations (National Military Command Systems). In June 1977 he was assigned as deputy director for operations (current operations). General Atkinson assumed his present duties in July 1978.
He is a command pilot with about 5,000 flying hours. His military decorations and awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters and the Republic of Vietnam Medal of Honor with gold star.
He was promoted to major general May 1, 1978, with date of rank Sept. 1, 1974.