Retired Oct. 1, 1978. Died Sep. 11, 2001.
Major General Don D. Pittman is commander of the 24th North American Air Defense Region (North American Air Defense Command) and the 24th Air Division, with headquarters at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Great Falls, Mont.
General Pittman was born in 1925, in Jefferson City, Mo., and graduated from St. Peter's High School in May 1943. He attended Michigan State University and, later, received a bachelor's degree in general education from the University of Omaha. In May 1975, General Pittman received the University of Nebraska Alumni Citation of Achievement. He graduated as a distinguished graduate from the Air Command and Staff College in 1960 and the Air War College in 1969.
He entered active military service in September 1943 and in April 1945 received his commission and pilot wings through the aviation cadet program.
His first assignments were as a multiengine pilot and operations officer in the continental United States, Hawaii and Canton Island. He was released from active duty in February 1947, reenlisted shortly thereafter and was recalled to active commissioned service in September 1947, serving as a troop carrier pilot at Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas.
General Pittman flew in the Berlin Airlift from Royal Air Force Station Burtonwood, England, and Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany. Returning to the United States in November 1949, he served briefly at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, attended the Air Tactical School at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., and in 1951 helped organize the electronic countermeasures and radar observer flight training program at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss.
He returned to Germany in December 1951, and was assigned as a pilot with the special air missions squadron at Wiesbaden Air Base. In August 1952 he was transferred to Furstenfeldbruck Air Base, where he was the safety officer for the 36th Fighter-Bomber Wing. When the wing moved to Bitburg Air Base, he was named flight commander and assistant operations officer of the 53d Fighter-Bomber Squadron. General Pittman was sent to McClellan Air Force Base, Calif., in January 1956, to serve as an instructor with an Air Force Reserve squadron. In August 1956, he was selected to be aide-de-camp to the commander of the Sacramento Air Materiel Area.
In August 1960 he was a distinguished graduate of the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. He then was transferred to Chateauroux Air Base, France, where he served as NATO project officer for the Fiat G-91, and in July 1961 he became chief of safety for Air Materiel Forces, European Area, at Chateauroux.
In September 1964, General Pittman was assigned to the 474th Tactical Fighter Wing at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. He served as operations officer and commander of the 429th Tactical Fighter Squadron when it was deployed to Bien Hoa Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, from August to December 1965, after which he returned to Cannon Air Force Base where the squadron was deactivated. He next commanded the 481st Tactical Fighter Squadron and in May 1967 assumed a second responsibility as deputy commander for operations, 27th Tactical Fighter Wing. He returned to Vietnam in July 1967 to command the 416th Tactical Fighter Squadron. During his Vietnam service he completed 277 combat missions, with a total of 385 combat hours in F-100 aircraft.
In August 1968 he returned to the United States and entered the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., where he was a distinguished graduate in June 1969.
General Pittman went to Torrejon Air Base, Spain as assistant deputy commander for operations for the 401st Tactical Fighter Wing and later was named deputy commander for operations. In August 1970 he moved to England where he became base commander with the 20th Tactical Fighter Wing at Royal Air Force Station Upper Heyford. In March 1971 he assumed command of the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing, the Statue of Liberty Wing, at Royal Air Force Station Lakenheath, and was in command during the wing's conversion from F-100 to F-4D aircraft.
General Pittman returned to the United States in May 1973 to become commander of the 14th Air Division at Beale Air Force Base, Calif. Under his command were reconnaissance, bombardment, airborne command and control and refueling organizations equipped with SR-71, B-52, EC-135, RC-135, and KC-135 aircraft.
In September 1974 General Pittman became inspector general of the Strategic Air Command at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. He next assumed duties as commander of the 314th Air Division at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, in August 1975. In that capacity, he also served as commander of the Korean Air Defense Sector; commander, Air Forces, Korea; and Air Force advisor to the senior member of the United Nations Military Armistice Commission.
General Pittman became commander of the 24th NORAD Region and the 24th Air Division in April 1977.
He is a command pilot with more than 11,000 flying hours in 42 types of aircraft, including fighters, tactical bombers, tankers, gliders, reconnaissance and liaison aircraft, and helicopters. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, Bronze Star Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with 13 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, and the Vietnamese Cross for Gallantry.
He was promoted to the grade of major general Aug. 1, 1975, with date of rank Nov. 1, 1972.
General Pittman's hometown is Jefferson City, Mo.