Retired June 1, 1978.
Major General Herbert J. Gavin is commander, Sacramento Air Logistics Center, McClellan Air Force Base, Calif.
General Gavin was born near Winterset, Iowa, in 1921. He began active military service in May 1942 as an aviation cadet and received his pilot wings and commission as a second lieutenant in April 1943. He studied aeronautical engineering at Northrop Institute of Technology and graduated in 1949; is an Air War College graduate; has a bachelor of science degree in military science from the University of Maryland; and a master of science degree in international affairs from The George Washington University.
After receiving his commission in April 1943, General Gavin attended the Engineering Officers Course at McClellan Field, Calif. He then served from September 1943 until the end of World War II in the China-Burma-India theater of operations as chief test pilot for the Eastern India Air Depot, remaining there until November 1945. General Gavin returned to the United States and in January 1946 was released from active duty at his own request and became a member of the California Air National Guard. He returned to school and after graduation from Northrop Institute of Technology joined the North American Aviation Company of Los Angeles as an engineer and field service representative, remaining there until his recall to active duty in 1951.
As a member of the California Air National Guard, General Gavin was recalled with the 146th Fighter-Bomber Wing, Tactical Air Command, and served with the wing successively as a fighter pilot, operations officer, chief of maintenance, and director of materiel. In May 1952 he was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., for duty with the National Guard Bureau as director of maintenance for the Air National Guard.
In January 1956 General Gavin was assigned to the Sacramento Air Materiel Area at McClellan Air Force Base, serving successively as chief of the Weapons Phasing Division and chief of the Lockheed Weapons Systems Division, while simultaneously flying with the Flight Test Division.
He was transferred to Tachikawa Air Base, Japan, in October 1958 where he formed the Air Force Logistics Command's first weapons system management group in the Far East. He remained its director until he returned to the United States in July 1961 and was again assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force to conduct basic management research with the original Materiel Evaluation Group in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Systems and Logistics.
General Gavin attended the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., from August 1965 to June 1966. He then served with the 75th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas, as deputy commander for operations and later as vice commander.
In July 1968 he became deputy commander for operations of the 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, Pacific Air Forces, at Tan Son Nhut Airfield, Republic of Vietnam. He served in that capacity, flying combat missions throughout Indochina, until returning to the United States in June 1969. At that time, he was assigned to Tactical Air Command Headquarters at Langley Air Force Base, Va., as assistant deputy chief of staff for logistics.
General Gavin assumed command of the Air Force's first F-111 wing, the 474th Tactical Fighter Wing, TAC, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., in June 1970. In July 1971 he returned to Headquarters Tactical Air Command and served again as assistant deputy chief of staff for logistics; and in June 1972 became deputy chief of staff for logistics.
In February 1974 General Gavin was assigned as deputy chief of staff, maintenance, Air Force Logistics Command, with headquarters at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. He was reassigned to his present position as commander of the Sacramento Air Logistics Center in March 1975.
He is a command pilot with 6,000 flying hours, and has flown more than 70 different types of aircraft. He is credited with 170 combat missions in two wars, with a total of 364 combat hours. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with seven oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Presidential Unit Citation Emblem, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon with oak leaf cluster, and the Combat Readiness Medal.
He was promoted to the grade of major general Aug. 1, 1973, with date of rank Feb. 1, 1971.