Retired May 1, 1980. Died March 22, 2005.
Major General Garth B. Dettinger is deputy surgeon general, U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
General Dettinger was born in Syracuse, N.Y., grew up in Pittsfield, Mass., and graduated in 1939 from Pittsfield High School. He entered service as an aviation cadet in February 1942, and was commissioned and received his pilot wings at Turner Field, Ga., in March 1943. Subsequently, he served as a pilot instructor in the aviation cadet program and in B-17 aircraft, and was a B-29 aircraft commander. He was separated from active military service in December 1945.
General Dettinger received a bachelor's degree cum laude from Harvard College in 1948 and a doctor of medicine degree from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University in 1952. After returning to active duty in July 1952, General Dettinger interned at Valley Forge Army Hospital, Pa. He completed his residency in general surgery in 1957 at Brooke Army Hospital in San Antonio, Texas. While in training, he received a master's degree in surgery from Baylor University Medical School in 1956.
General Dettinger was assigned at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., in July 1957 and served as chief of surgical services and director of clinical medicine. While there, he attended the Primary Course in Aviation Medicine at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, graduating in April 1959. From August 1959 through July 1962, he served as chief of surgery at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska.
His next assignment was at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., where he served successively as chief of surgical services, director of professional services, and commander of the 803d Medical Group. In July 1964, he moved to Walker Air Force Base, N.M., to command the 812th Medical Group. During the period 1964 to 1967, he was selected to act as surgeon on the prime recovery helicopter and attending surgeon to the astronauts at the launch site for Project Gemini.
In June 1967, he was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe, serving as chief of the clinical consultants division and director of professional services in the Office of the Surgeon General. In July 1970 he assumed command of the 392d Aerospace Medical Group at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. He moved to Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, in May 1972 to be surgeon of the Air Force Military Personnel Center.
General Dettinger served as command surgeon for Air Training Command at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, from May 1974 to July 1975, at which time he was assigned as director, medical plans and resources, Office of the Surgeon General, U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. He assumed his present position in December 1976.
His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.
He is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha honor medical society, a diplomate of the American Board of Surgery and the National Board of Medical Examiners, a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and a member of the American College of Hospital Administrators. He has been awarded the "W" prefix to his surgical specialty designation, indicative of professional status, and holds the aeronautical rating of chief flight surgeon.
He was promoted to the grade of major general Jan. 18, 1977, with date of rank Nov. 1, 1973.