Retired Feb. 1, 1974.
Major General DeWitt R. Searles is the deputy inspector general of the U.S. Air Force. The inspector general provides the secretary of the Air Force and the chief of staff an evaluation, through inspections, of the effectiveness of U.S. Air Force units, and he monitors worldwide safety policies and programs in the interest of accident prevention. He also directs the U.S. Air Force counterintelligence program and is responsible for security policy and criminal investigation within the Air Force.
General Searles was born in Birmingham, Ala., in 1920, and graduated from The Bolles School, Jacksonville, Fla., in 1939. He enlisted in the aviation cadet program and completed Army Air Forces flying school training in 1943 with a commission as a second lieutenant and his pilot wings.
During World War II, he served with the Far East Air Forces in the Pacific Theater of Operations where he flew 269 combat missions against the Japanese. He completed a total of 680 combat hours in P-47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang aircraft in air operations over New Guinea and the Philippines.
In 1945 he attended the Army Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. From August 1945 to July 1947, he served as pilot and adjutant of the 362d Fighter Group at Biggs Field, Texas, and Shaw Field, S.C. He entered the University of Maryland at College Park, Md., under the Air Force Institute of Technology program and received his bachelor of arts degree in journalism in 1949.
In July 1949 General Searles was assigned to the Office of Public Information, Office of the Secretary of Defense, in Washington, D.C., and in 1951 he became chief of the Air Force Press Desk in that office. In January 1953 he was transferred to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., to become chief of the Office of Information Services of the Air Proving Ground Command.
From August 1955 to July 1956, he attended the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., and then was sent to Williams Air Force Base, Ariz., and Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., for advanced training in the F-86 Sabre and the F-100 Super Sabre.
General Searles went to Misawa Air Base, Japan, in May 1957 to assume duties as executive officer of the 49th Fighter Bomber Wing. When the wing was deactivated, he was transferred to Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, and assigned as commander, 12th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 18th Tactical Fighter Wing. In July 1958 he was appointed director of operations for the 18th Tactical Fighter Wing and in this position led the wing Fighter Weapons Team to victory in the Pacific Air Forces Fighter Weapons Meet. He later was captain of the team when it placed third in the Air Force-wide Fighter Weapons Meet at Nellis Air Force Base in competition against the best teams from Europe and the United States. In June 1959 he became director of operations of the 313th Air Division at Kadena Air Base.
General Searles was transferred to Headquarters U.S. Air Force in Washington, D.C., in July 1960 and was assigned to the Allocations Division of the Directorate of Operations. He attended the 1963-1964 class of the National War College and concurrently attended off-duty classes at The George Washington University. After graduating from the National War College in July 1964, he received a master of arts degree in international affairs from The George Washington University.
General Searles was assigned in July 1964 to the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing at Royal Air Force Station Bentwaters, England, as vice commander, and in July 1965 became commander. He served as inspector general, Tactical Air Command, at Langley Air Force Base, Va., from August 1967 until June 1969.
He then assumed duties as commander, 327th Air Division, Pacific Air Forces, and chief, Air Section, Military Assistance Advisory Group, Republic of China, with headquarters at Taipei, Taiwan. In July 1971 he became deputy commander, Seventh/Thirteenth Air Force, Thailand, with headquarters at Udorn Airfield, Thailand.
Following his assignment in Thailand, General Searles was assigned as deputy inspector general, U.S. Air Force, in October 1972.
His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Distinguished Unit Citation Emblem with oak leaf cluster. He is a command pilot.
General Searles' hometown is Jacksonville, Fla.
He was promoted to the grade of major general effective Feb. 26, 1971, with date of rank Oct. 14, 1966.