Retired Nov. 1, 1965. Died Dec. 27, 1982.
Cecil Edward Combs was born in 1912 in Dallas, Texas. He graduated from Forest High School in 1929 and attended the University of Chicago for two years. He entered the U.S. Military Academy as a representative of the Texas National Guard, and graduated in June 1936.
He attended flying training at Randolph and Kelly fields, Texas, and became a rated pilot in October 1937. His first tour of duty as a pilot was in the Philippines where he flew such old airplanes as the B-3, the O-21, the P-12 and such then modern types as the P-26 and the B-10. In May 1940 he joined the 19th Bomb Group, one of our first organizations to be equipped with B-17s. He commanded the 93rd Bomb Squadron which flew to Clark Field in the Philippine Islands in late 1941. When the war started Major Combs led the 93rd Bomb Squadron in action from bases in the Philippine Islands and Australia until transferred to Java, Jan. 1, 1942, to become deputy commander of the India Air Task Force at Barrackbore where he succeeded Brigadier General Caleb V. Haynes as commander in June 1943.
Recalled to the United States in late 1943, Colonel Combs served as a member of the Air Force Board until April 1944 when we was designated deputy chief of staff, operations, of the 20th Air Force which, under General Hap Arnold, planned and supervised the operations of the B-29s against Japan. Colonel Combs rejoined the forces in the Mariannas in August 1945, barely in time to participate in one of the last missions of the war. This was a show of force over Tokyo while the terms of the surrender were being signed in Tokyo Bay. After the war a variety of assignments included a tour of duty with the War Department General Staff as Air Deputy of the Plans and Policy Group and as Deputy Chief of the Plans Division in the newly formed U.S. Air Force. This was followed by various assignments in the Strategic Air Command and in the Air Training Command.
Specific responsibilities in the educational field first occurred when in July 1953 Colonel Combs was selected to organize and command the U.S. Air Force Officer Military Schools at Lackland Air Force Base. This was followed by an assignment as deputy commander of the Crew Training Air Force and subsequently deputy director of personnel procurement and training in the Pentagon. While in the Pentagon he pursued graduate studies in political science at The George Washington University and received his master of arts degree in 1958. In September 1957, he was selected as commandant of the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, a position he still holds. He served as the senior member of the Military Armistice Commission for the United Nations Command in Korea from May until November 1964.