Retired Feb. 1, 1980.
Major General John R. Spalding Jr., is commander of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, Robins Air Force Base, Ga. The center is logistics manager for most of the U.S. Air Force's transport aircraft, helicopters, air-to-air missiles, surface motor vehicles and airborne electronics.
General Spalding was born in Oak Park, Ill., in 1925. He graduated from high school in Downers Grove, Ill., in June 1943, and entered the Aviation Cadet Program in September 1943. He was commissioned a second lieutenant and rated a navigator in November 1944.
After completing B-24 combat crew training, he underwent advanced airborne radar training at Langley Air Force Base, Va. In 1946 he was assigned to the Alaskan Air Command and served at Adak in the Aleutian Islands. Returning to the United States in September 1947, General Spalding was assigned as a navigator to the Military Air Transport Service at Travis Air Force Base, Calif.
In 1948 he entered pilot training at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, and graduated from the single-engine fighter school at Williams Air Force Base, Ariz., in October 1949. The next two years he served as a fighter-interceptor pilot with the 93d Fighter Squadron at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. In 1951 he was transferred to the 51st Fighter Group at Suwon, Korea, where he flew 100 combat missions in the F-86 Sabrejet and was credited with destroying a MiG-15 in aerial combat.
In July 1952, General Spalding was assigned to Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., as a fighter gunnery instructor. In February 1954, he was selected as the left wingman on the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds. He also served as operations officer at Luke, and later as commander of the 3603d Combat Crew Training Squadron, flying F-84Fs.
General Spalding entered the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business under the Air Force Institute of Technology program in May 1957 and received a master of business administration degree in personnel management and industrial relations in 1958.
General Spalding was assigned to the Strategic Air Command in January 1959 and served at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, as aircraft commander of a select B-47 crew, and squadron operations officer in the 96th Bombardment Wing. When the wing converted to B-52s in 1963, he became a wing staff officer, and later commanded the 337th Bombardment Squadron, flying B-52 aircraft. His last assignment at Dyess was as assistant deputy commander for operations of the 96th Strategic Aerospace Wing.
During 1966-67 General Spalding attended the Naval War College in Newport, R.I. After graduation, he completed F-4 combat crew training at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.
In June 1968 General Spalding became deputy commander for operations of the 405th Fighter Wing at Clark Air Base, Republic of the Philippines. In May 1970 he was transferred to Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, as director of operations, Seventh/Thirteenth Air Force. In September 1970 General Spalding went to Da Nang Airfield, Republic of Vietnam, as vice commander and later became commander of the F-4 Phantom-equipped 366th Tactical Fighter Wing, "The Gunfighters." During this tour in Southeast Asia, General Spalding flew 163 combat missions in Laos, Cambodia, Republic of Vietnam and North Vietnam. The 366th TFW was awarded the General Robert Worley Trophy as the best fighter wing in Southeast Asia in 1971.
General Spalding returned to the United States in September 1971 and was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as chief, Tactical Forces and Airlift Division, Deputy Chief of Staff, Programs and Resources. He was reassigned in June 1972 as director of logistics plans and programs for the deputy chief of staff, systems and logistics.
In February 1975, General Spalding assumed the duties of deputy chief of staff, logistics (J-4) for North American Air Defense Command/Continental Air Defense Command/Aerospace Defense Command, Ent Air Force Base, Colo. ADC later became ADCOM, with headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. In December 1976, he became vice commander in chief of ADCOM. He became commander of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center Sept. 1, 1977.
He is rated as a command pilot and navigator with more than 5,800 hours pilot time. General Spalding has been combat-ready in the F-80, F-84, F-86, F-102, F-4, B-47, and B-52 aircraft.
His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal with 12 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal and Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.
General Spalding was promoted to the grade of major general June 1, 1975, with date of rank July 1, 1972.