Retired Aug. 1, 1975.
Major General Ernest T. Cragg is chief of staff of the Allied Air Forces Southern Europe (AIRSOUTH) in Naples, Italy. In this NATO position General Cragg has responsibility for the functioning of the staff elements assigned to Commander, AIRSOUTH, and insuring that the tasks related to the various activities of land based tactical air forces in the southern region are effectively pursued.
General Cragg was born in Mount Vernon, N.Y., in 1922. He graduated from Greenwich High School, Greenwich, Conn., in 1939, and attended the Stanton Preparatory Academy at Cornwall, N.Y., during 1939-1940. He was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 1940 and received his bachelor of science degree, pilot wings and commission as second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps in June 1943. He attended the University of Michigan as a graduate student in electrical engineering, during 1947-1949, under the Air Force Institute of Technology program, and in 1963 was awarded a master of arts degree in international affairs from The George Washington University. He graduated from the National War College in July 1963.
During World War II, General Cragg served in the European Theater of Operations, from January 1944 until the end of World War II in Europe, in many capacities including pilot, flight commander and assistant operations officer of the 401st Fighter Bomber Squadron, 370th Fighter Group. He completed 76 combat missions totaling 175 flying hours in P-38 and P-51 aircraft. He was assigned for six months to the 9th Infantry Division and the 9th Armored Division as air liaison officer and forward air controller and then to the IX Tactical Air Command as combat operations duty officer. His immediate postwar assignment was with the 70th Fighter Wing at Neubiberg, Germany, as the assistant chief of staff, operations.
General Cragg returned to the United States in August 1946 and was assigned as senior air instructor for the Rhode Island Air National Guard. He attended the University of Michigan, from June 1947 to February 1949, and then the Special Weapons Course at Sandia Base, N.M. He remained at Sandia Base as senior instructor and in October 1949 became chief of training at the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project. In May 1951 he was assigned to Tactical Air Command at Langley Air Force Base, Va., as director of special weapons.
In March 1954 General Cragg was transferred to Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., and assigned to the 388th Fighter Wing, as group operations officer and in August 1954 became commander of the 563d Fighter Bomber Squadron. He went with the squadron to Etain Air Base, France. During the period April 1955 to December 1957, he was assigned to the Twelfth Air Force at Ramstein, Germany, where he served as chief, Special Weapons Division; chief, Tactical Operations Division; and later deputy director of operations and training. In January 1958 he was appointed director of the Combat Operations Center, Twelfth Air Force, and U.S. Air Forces in Europe Advanced Echelon, Kindsbach, Germany.
General Cragg returned to the United States in August 1958 and was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Programs, as action officer with the Office of the Assistant Deputy Director of Plans for War Plans. In July 1963 he assumed duties as vice commander of the 20th Tactical Fighter Wing, Royal Air Force Station Wethersfield, England, and in June 1965 became commander.
In July 1966 General Cragg was assigned to Air Training Command as commander of the 3500th Pilot Training Wing, at Reese Air Force Base, Texas, and in August 1967 became deputy chief of staff, operations, for Headquarters Air Training Command, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas.
He returned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force in June 1969 and was assigned to the office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Programs and Resources as deputy director of aerospace programs, and in March 1971 became director. In December 1971 he was assigned as the assistant deputy chief of staff, programs and resources. He was vice commander of the Second Air Force (Strategic Air Command) at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., from April 1972 to November 1973. In November 1973 he assumed command of the Air Force Inspection and Safety Center at Norton Air Force Base, Calif.
General Cragg became chief of staff of the Allied Air Forces Southern Europe in Naples, Italy, in September 1974.
His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 13 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon, and the Belgian Fourragere. He is a command pilot and has more than 5,000 flying hours.
He was promoted to the temporary grade of major general effective May 1, 1970, with date of rank Aug. 10, 1965. He is a permanent major general with date of rank May 29, 1968.