Retired Aug. 31, 1975. Died April 16, 1987.
Major General Henry B. Kucheman Jr., is commander of the Armament Development and Test Center, Air Force Systems Command, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The center plans, programs, and manages development, test, and acquisition programs for air armament including air-launched tactical and air defense missiles, guided weapons, nonnuclear munitions and safety, and aircraft guns and ammunition. The center also provides extensive test support to other Department of Defense agencies.
General Kucheman was born in Baltimore, Md., in 1919. He graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School, Richmond, Va., in 1937, and then attended two years of study in engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He was employed for two years as a senior engineering draftsman, Virginia Department of Highways, Richmond, Va., then enlisted in the Army Air Corps in July 1941. After aviation cadet training at Hicks, Goodfellow, and Kelly fields in Texas, he received his pilot wings and commission as second lieutenant in February 1942.
He then was assigned to the 50th Fighter Group at Orlando, Fla., in February 1942 as flight commander of the 10th Fighter Squadron, and in January 1943 was assigned to the 355th Fighter Group. During World War II in July 1943, he went with the 355th group to the European Theater of Operations and was stationed at Steeple Morden, England. General Kucheman served as operations officer and then commander of the 354th Fighter Squadron. He completed 82 combat missions with a total of 302 combat hours in P-51 and P-47 aircraft and is credited with destroying six enemy aircraft and damaging four.
He returned to the United States in November 1944 and served in various Air Training Command posts. In March 1946 he went to Germany as operations officer of the 86th Fighter Group at Nordholtz, and subsequently served as assistant for operations and training, 64th Fighter Wing, at Bad Kissingen.
General Kucheman returned to the United States and in May 1947 was assigned to Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va. In August 1947 he reentered Virginia Polytechnic Institute and received a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering in June 1949. He then was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as a charter member of the Research and Development Directorate, Deputy Chief of Staff for Development, as a research and development staff officer.
In November 1953 he went to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., where he served in various positions related to armament test and range operations. He was assigned to the Air Force Armament Center where he served successively as assistant director of test operations; chief, Weapons and Missiles Branch; director of technical support; and deputy commander for test. In June 1958 he became assistant deputy commander for development and test at the Air Proving Ground Center. In August 1959 he entered the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Washington, D.C.
In July 1960 General Kucheman went to Los Angeles, Calif., as director of Air Force space boosters, Ballistic Missile Division. In September 1960 he began a series of assignments with the Space Systems Division, as director for the Agena D Program. Upon completion of the Agena D Project he was named systems program director of the Air Force Communication satellite programs. In July 1964 he became deputy for unmanned mystems, responsible for management and development of the U.S. Air Force unmanned military satellite research and development programs including the nuclear detection satellite program; the Defense Communications Satellite Program launched during 1966; and other military communications satellite programs.
In February 1966 General Kucheman was assigned to the Aeronautical Systems Division at Wright-Patterson, Air Force Base, Ohio, as deputy for limited war, and in October 1966 became vice commander. During this assignment he was directly involved with development and acquisition of aeronautical systems, including munitions and related equipment; all aspects of special air warfare; and limited war operations with particular emphasis on those related to support to Southeast Asia.
General Kucheman was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Research and Development, in June 1968, as director of development with responsibilities for maintaining the Air Force technological base through programs in research and exploratory development; the development of systems and major subsystems in advanced and engineering development; administering research, development, test and evaluation support aircraft inventory; managing the technical support facilities acquisition; and additionally served as assistant for limited war. In February 1970 General Kucheman became assistant deputy chief of staff, research and development. In this position, he assisted in monitoring the Air Force research and development effort.
In March 1972 he was assigned to the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Fort McNair, Washington, D.C., as deputy commandant. General Kucheman was appointed commander of the Armament Development and Test Center, AFSC, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., in October 1972.
He is a command pilot with 5,000 flying hours. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, and the Presidential Unit Citation Emblem.
General Kucheman's hometown is Richmond, Va.
He was promoted to the grade of major general effective June 24, 1968, with date of rank Feb. 2, 1964.