Retired. Died Jan. 18, 1982.
Delmar Taft Spivey was born in Gatesville, N.C. in 1905. After graduating from high school at Whaleyville, Va., in 1922, he attended William and Mary College, Williamsburg, Va. Graduating from the U.S. Military Academy on June 9, 1928, the general was appointed a second lieutenant of Infantry and assigned as a platoon leader at Fort Benning, Ga. Entering flying school in June 1929, he graduated a year later, transferred to the Air Corps and was assigned to Langley Field, Va.
Assigned in June 1933 to the 65th Service Squadron at Luke Field, Hawaii, two years later General Spivey became engineering officer of the 64th School Squadron at Kelly Field, Texas, and in January 1936 was named assistant engineering officer there. In April 1936 he became an instructor at the flying school at Kelly Field, and a year later was appointed chief of the bomb section there.
Becoming materiel officer of the 23rd Composite Group in July 1938, with which he served at Maxwell Field, Ala., and Orlando, Fla., two years later the general assumed command of a squadron at the Air Corps Proving Ground, Eglin Field, Fla., and in January 1941 was appointed executive officer of the Air Corps Proving Ground. The following April he assumed command of the Fixed Gunnery School at Eglin Field, and in February 1942 was named commander of the Central Instructors School and Flexible Gunnery School at Fort Myers, Fla. A year later the general was designated operations officer of the Southeast Training Command at Maxwell Field, remaining there until June 1943.
Serving with the Eighth Air Force in Europe, on Aug. 12, 1943, while piloting a B-17 on a mission over Germany, General Spivey was shot down. He remained a prisoner of war until April 1945 when he was returned to allied control and assigned to the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe.
In August 1945 General Spivey became assistant chief of Air Staff for Personnel of the Air Training Command at Fort Worth, Texas. The following month he was named assistant to the chief of staff of the Air Training Command, and in October 1945 was appointed deputy chief of staff of the command, retraining that position when the command headquarters moved to Barksdale Field, La., in April 1946.
Entering the National War College in August 1946, upon graduation the following June the general became chief of the Academic Staff of the Air University at Maxwell Field, Ala. In July 1948 he was appointed commander for education at the Air University, and a year later became director of education there.
General Spivey in August 1949 was appointed chief of the Plans Division, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations at U.S. Air Force headquarters. A year later he was assigned to Fifth Air Force headquarters at Nagoya, Japan and soon afterward assumed command of the Rear Echelon of the Fifth Air Force. In December 1950 he was named commanding general of the 314th Air Division in Japan.
Upon the inactivation of the 314th Air Division in February 1952, General Spivey was designated commander of the Japan Air Defense Force.
Returning to the United States in February 1953, the general was appointed commanding general of the Central Air Defense Force, Air Defense Command, at Kansas City, Mo. Moving to Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in July 1954, he was designated commandant of the Air War College, Air University, until June 16, 1956, when he became a patient at the Air University Hospital.
His decorations include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal and the Order of the British Empire (Honorary Commander). He is rated a command pilot.