Retired June 1, 1964. Died Dec. 5, 1968.
Henry Russell Spicer was born in Colorado Springs, Colo., in 1909. He graduated from high school at Los Angeles, Calif., in 1927, and received his bachelor of science degree in economics from the University of Arizona in 1932.
Appointed a flying cadet, General Spicer entered primary flying school Feb. 20, 1933, graduated from advanced flying school a year later, and served as a flying cadet until Feb. 20, 1935, when he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Reserve and assigned to the 95th Pursuit Squadron at March Field, Calif. The following May he joined the 6th Pursuit Squadron at Wheeler Field, Hawaii.
Reassigned to March Field in June 1937, General Spicer served with the 34th Attack Squadron, and in October became a flying instructor at the Air Corps Training Center, Randolph Field, Texas. In October 1938, he received his regular commission as a second lieutenant in the Air Corps. He was named director of training at the Advanced Flying School, Moore Field, Mission, Texas, in July 1942.
Going to England in October 1943, the general was designated executive officer of the 66th Fighter Wing, Eighth Air Force. Shot down and captured March 5, 1944, he remained a prisoner of war until May 14, 1945. From August to October 1945, he attended Gunnery School at Westhampton Field, Mich. In July 1946, General Spicer was transferred to Howard Field, Panama Canal Zone, and assumed command of the 36th Fighter Group there. He became an instructor in the Plans and Operations Division of the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Va., in January 1949.
Joining the Air Training Command in April 1950, General Spicer assumed command of the 3525th Pilot Training Wing at Williams Force Base, Ariz., and a year later became commander of Crew Training Wing, ATRC, Wichita Air Force Base, Kan., named vice commander of the Crew Training Air Force, ATC, at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, in November 1953, and, on Sept. 22, 1954, was appointed inspector general, ATRC, at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. While at the Air Training Headquarters, he progressed through chief of staff and vice commander before becoming commander, Flying Training Air Force, Air Training Command, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, on July 1, 1957. He became commander of Seventeenth Air Force, Wheelus Air Base, Tripoli, Libya, on June 30, 1958, and deputy commander of Seventeenth Air Force at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Nov. 15, 1959.
General Spicer relieved Major General G.P. Disosway as commander of the Seventeenth Air Force on May 25, 1960, with the reassignment of General Disosway to Headquarters U.S. Air Force. This marked the second time General Spicer had assumed command of the Seventeenth Air Force.
General Spicer assumed command of the 25th Air Division (SAGE) and the 25th NORAD Region Aug. 13, 1962. In this dual capacity, the general assumed responsibility for successful operation of an advanced Pacific Northwest air defense system with radar, fighter interceptor and aircraft control and warning units located in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho and Canada. This joint United States-Canadian defense organization is manned by more than 13,000 skilled military and civilian personnel.
General Spicer's decorations include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters and the French Croix de Guerre with Palm. He is credited with three enemy aircraft destroyed.