Retired May 1, 1978.
Major General Eugene B. Sterling is the assistant director for plans, programs and systems of the Defense Supply Agency, Cameron Station, Va. As assistant director, General Sterling is responsible for developing joint staff plans and automatic data processing systems to support DSA's multiple functions and supervising the implementation of Department of Defense logistics programs and policies. The mission of DSA is to provide worldwide logistic support in common areas of supply, contract administration and services to the Military Services, as well as various agencies of the Federal Government.
General Sterling was born in 1920, in Crisfield, Md., where he graduated from high school. From 1938 to 1940 he attended Salisbury State Teachers College at Salisbury, Md., and was subsequently employed by the DuPont Co. In January 1942 he entered the aviation cadet program and graduated in January 1943 as a pilot with a commission as second lieutenant. He next received pilot training in C-46 and C-47 transport aircraft.
In September 1943 General Sterling flew one of the first C-46 transports from the United States to India, by way of South America, Africa and the Middle East route. During the following year, he flew war supplies and troops to China over the "hump." He supported Merrill's Marauders in May and June of 1944 in the Burma campaign by airdropping supplies from C-47s. Later, in the battle to regain Myitkyina airfield from the Japanese, he participated in the airlanding of the first troops and the evacuation of wounded to India.
In September 1944 General Sterling returned to the United States, completed C-54 pilot training, and then was assigned to Newcastle Army Air Base, Del. From there, he flew the North Atlantic Crescent Caravan route, airlifting supplies to England and France and returning with wounded soldiers. Following this assignment, he served as an instructor pilot in various training units.
General Sterling returned to civilian life in January 1947, received a bachelor of arts degree from Washington College, Chestertown, Md., in 1948, and a master's degree in public school administration from John Hopkins University in 1949. For the next two years he was a high school teacher in Baltimore.
During that period, he maintained proficiency in flying and in operations and training as an Air Force Reserve officer in the 1254th Special Airlift at National Airport, Washington, D.C.
In July 1951, during the Korean War, General Sterling was recalled to active duty and assigned as an operations officer in the 580th Air Resupply and Communications Wing at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, and later at Wheelus Field, Libya. He was then transferred to Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Wiesbaden, Germany, in September 1953, where he supervised operations and training in USAFE special operations wings.
In August 1956 General Sterling was assigned to Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., where he served as commander of a C-54 air transport squadron. The squadron later transitioned to C-124 Globemasters and General Sterling was a qualified flight examiner in both aircraft. He was subsequently reassigned to wing headquarters as chief of the Transport Control Center.
In June 1961 General Sterling was transferred to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., where for five years he served in the Airlift Division, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations. During this period, he participated in the development of the program and concept of operations which is used today for turboprop, jet and Civil Reserve Air Fleet airlift forces.
From July 1966 to March 1969, General Sterling was as signed to Headquarters Pacific Air Forces, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, where he became deputy director, aircrew standardization and training, in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations. His next assignment was to Headquarters Military Airlift Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., as director of operational requirements.
In July 1971, General Sterling went to Travis Air Force Base, Calif., where he served as deputy chief of staff for operations, Twenty-second Air Force. During this tour of duty, he was responsible for Military Airlift Command airlift operations throughout the Pacific area, and also directed the transport forces that supported U.S. and South Vietnamese defense operations against the massive surprise attack by enemy insurgents in the spring of 1972. General Sterling assumed command of the 443d Military Airlift Wing at Altus Air Force Base, Okla., in June 1972, and was responsible for training C-5 and C-141 aircrews for the Military Airlift Command.
From June 1973 to August 1974, General Sterling was assigned to the Office of the Inspector General, Headquarters U.S, Air Force as the director of inspection, operating from the Air Force inspection and Safety Center at Norton Air Force Base, Calif. In that position, he was responsible for the worldwide program for inspecting Air Force management and operations.
General Sterling became the assistant director for plans, programs and systems of the Defense Supply Agency, Cameron Station. Va., in August 1974.
His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, and the Presidential Unit Citation Emblem. He is a command pilot with more than 6,500 flying hours. He is qualified in both the C-141 and C-5 airlift aircraft.
He was promoted to the grade of major general effective Sept. 1, 1974, with date of rank May 1, 1972.