Retired Feb. 28, 1957. Died Dec. 10, 1978.
Burton Murdock Hovey was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1905. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Nov. 6, 1923, rising to the grade of corporal.
Appointed a flying cadet in September 1925, General Hovey entered Primary Flying School at Brooks Field, Texas, and graduated from Advanced Flying School at Kelly Field, Texas. Commissioned a second lieutenant of Air Corps in the Regular Army in January 1927, he was assigned to the 57th Service Squadron at Selfridge Field, Mich., serving successively as supply officer and assistant engineering officer. From October 1928 to March 1931 he served at Brooks Field, Texas with the 52nd School Squadron and as a flying instructor at the Primary Flying School, then went to Kelly Field to become assistant engineering officer and instructor at the Flying School.
Entering the Air Corps Technical School at Chanute Field, Ill., in August 1933, he graduated the following June and assumed command of the 78th Pursuit Squadron at Albrook Field, Panama Canal Zone. Returning to Kelly Field in November 1936 the general was appointed supply officer of the 61st School Squadron, and the following February again became a flying instructor at the Advanced Flying School there, later becoming chief of the Pursuit Section at Kelly Field. He entered the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field, Ala., in January 1940, graduated that March and returned to Kelly Field as director of flying at the Advanced Flying School. That August General Hovey was named director of training and operations at the Advanced Flying School at Maxwell Field. In July 1941 he became Air Corps project officer for the construction of the Basic Flying School at Shaw Field, Sumter, S.C., and upon completion he was named post commander.
Assuming command of the Norfolk Air Defense Wing, Va., in June 1943, soon thereafter General Hovey became commanding officer of the Philadelphia Fighter Wing, Pa. The following January he assumed command of the 303rd Fighter Wing, taking it to the European Theater of Operations two months later, where it was assigned to the 19th Tactical Air Command of the Ninth Air Force. The 406th Fighter Group of the 303rd Fighter Wing was the first American unit to employ rockets against targets in the European continent. In September 1944 he was named deputy commander of the 29th Tactical Air Command, in addition to being commanding officer of the 303rd Fighter Wing. The following April he assumed command of the Berlin Air Command, moving to Berlin three months later.
Assigned at Bolling Field, Washington, D.C. in October 1945, General Hovey was appointed commanding general of Headquarters Command there, as well as commander of Bolling Field in December 1946. Two years later he was named air attache at Buenos Aires, Argentina, returning to Air Force Headquarters in May 1952. Later that month he became deputy commandant of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Fort Leslie J. McNair in Washington, D.C.
Going to Brazil in January 1955, General Hovey was appointed chief of the Air Section, Joint Brazil-U.S. Military Commission, and chief of the Air Section, Military Assistance Advisory Group, Brazil.
On Dec. 3, 1956 the general returned to the United States where on Feb. 28, 1957 he retired from active service.
His decorations include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster and the Bronze Star Medal; the Belgian Order of Leopold II, Commander, with palm, Belgian Fourragere, and Belgian Croix de Guerre; French Legion of Honor and Croix de Guerre; and Luxembourg Croix de Guerre and Order of Adloph of Nassau, Commander, with crown. He is rated a command pilot, combat and aircraft observer.
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
He was promoted to first lieutenant (permanent) Nov. 1, 1932; to major (temporary) March 15, 1935; reverted to his permanent rank of first lieutenant June 16, 1936; was promoted to captain (permanent) Jan. 22, 1937; to major (temporary) Dec. 30, 1940; to lieutenant colonel (temporary) Jan. 5, 1942; to colonel (temporary) March 1, 1942~ to major (permanent,) Jan. 22, 1944; to brigadier general (temporary) Sept. 9, 1944; to colonel (permanent) April 2, 1948; to major general (temporary) Oct. 27, 1954.