Retired May 14, 1966. Died Aug. 29, 1999.
Brigadier General J. Francis Taylor Jr., currently assigned as director of command control and communications, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., was born in Columbus, Ind., in 1912. After graduation from Columbus High School, he entered Miami University at Oxford, Ohio, graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in physics and chemistry in 1934. His military career began when he entered service as a flying cadet Oct. 9, 1936.
Upon graduation from primary and advanced flying schools at Randolph and Kelly fields, Texas, he was rated a pilot and commissioned a second lieutenant Oct. 6, 1937. He was integrated into the regular establishment approximately one year later, while on duty with the 27th Pursuit Squadron at Selfridge Field, Mich.
During his tour of duty at Selfridge Field, he served as a pilot with the 27th Pursuit Squadron, as wing operations officer, squadron commander and later as aide-de-camp to the commanding general of the 6th Pursuit Wing. Transferring to the 52d Fighter Group, Norfolk, Va., in December 1941, he served as group operations officer until February 1942.
In World War II, Taylor, then a colonel, divided his time between the Eighth and Ninth Fighter commands. While with the Ninth Fighter Command, he served as director of combat operations.
Qualified in all of the fighter planes then in use, Taylor flew P-51 Mustangs, P-47 Thunderbolts and P-38 Lightnings in combat missions over Europe.
Immediately after the war, he was assigned to the U.S. Air Force All-Weather Flying Division, flying weather research aircraft out of Clinton County Airport, and later from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. He served the division for two years as its deputy commander before moving up to command and division for an additional three years.
Three events highlighted his tour of duty while he was with the All-Weather Flying Division. He was responsible for the installation of radars and radar traffic control procedures for the famed Berlin Airlift; he supervised and participated in the famed "Thunderstorm Project", in which aircraft assigned to the division, equipped with every conceivable weather recording device, were purposely flown through the heart of thunderstorms. The research provided the Air Force with invaluable details concerning the structure, internal movement and the dangers inherent in this common but hitherto little understood weather phenomenon.
In 1947, the All-Weather Flying Division again achieved international recognition when it set up and conducted a completely automatic C-54 flight to England. The aircraft was completely controlled by pushbuttons from take-off in the United States to landing in England.
General Taylor was assigned as deputy for air defense with the assistant for operational readiness, Headquarters, ARDC in August 1951. Following this assignment he attended the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, graduating from the Regular Officers Course in June 1953. He was then assigned as chief, Mobilization Plans Division, Director of Plans, Headquarters, U.S. Air Force, until March 1954.
He then became director of the staff of the Air Navigation Development Board until August 1956. He assumed command of the Continental AACS Area on Aug. 15, 1956, and continued in that assignment until his transfer to Germany as commander of the EAME AACS Area on March 15, 1959, where he served until October 1962. In November 1962 he assumed his present duties as director of command control and communications, Headquarters U.S. Air Force.
He has completed the Advanced Gas Course, Edgewood Arsenal, Md., and the Regular Course at the Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. General Taylor holds the permanent rank of colonel, U.S. Air Force, and is a command pilot. His decorations include the Air Medal with oak leaf cluster and the Bronze Star Medal with Navy Gold Star.