Retired. Died Nov. 19, 1977.
John Reynolds Sutherland was born in Monroe, N.Y., in 1909. He graduated from Monroe High School in 1926 and from Mackensie Preparatory School, also in Monroe, in 1927. He attended Dartmouth College for one year prior to receiving a Congressional appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1929.
Graduating from the academy on June 9, 1932 as a second lieutenant of the cavalry, Lieutenant Sutherland entered flying training the same year at Randolph and Kelly fields, Texas. In 1933, he received his pilot's wings and has been in bombardment since that time. He has qualified on nearly all models of bombardment aircraft up to and including the jet B-47.
After receiving his wings, Lieutenant Sutherland's first assignment was with the 2nd Bomb Group at Langley Field where he served as assistant adjutant and armament officer. He also served as armament officer of the 20th Bomb Squadron. He served at Langley from November 1933 to May 1937, but attended the North Bombsight Operation and Maintenance School in 1934 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
In May 1937, Lieutenant Sutherland moved to Mitchell Field, N.Y., to serve as Armament Officer for the 9th Bomb Group and the 7th Bomb Squadron. He then joined the 5th Composite Wing, 23rd Bomb Squadron, as Armament Officer and remained with this unit for two years with duty first at Luke and then Hickam Fields. In January 1940, Lieutenant Sutherland was assigned to the Bombardment Section of the Air Force at Maxwell Field for a period of eight months.
His next assignment returned him to Langley Field, where he served for eight months as the commander of Headquarters Squadron, 34th Bomb Group. During this period, he was promoted to captain. Captain Sutherland moved with the 35th Bomb Group from Langley to Westover to Pendleton, Ore. In February 1942, the 34th Bomb Group broke up into three cadres, and Captain Sutherland became deputy commander and group operations Officer of 303rd Bomb Group at Bowen Field, Boise, Idaho. This assignment was followed by a short tour as the deputy commander of the 15th Bomb Wing, Tuscon, Ariz., and then as commander of the 330th Bomb Group at Biggs Field, El Paso, Texas.
After a short tour at Midland Air Force Base, Texas, Major Sutherland was assigned early in 1943 to the Tenth Air Force in the China-Burma-India Theater where he served as assistant A-4, chief of staff and A-3 operations, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. During this period he attained the rank of colone1. He became chief of staff to the Combat Training Command of the CBI Theater with Headquarters at Karachi, India.
Colonel Sutherland returned to the States in July 1944 to be assigned to the Bombardment Section of the Air Force Board at Orlando, Fla. The December of that year, he was appointed Pacific Area Liaison Officer for the Air Force Board and served in the Marianas. While overseas, he was reassigned to the Twentieth Air Force as deputy chief of staff, operations, for the 73rd Bomb Wing in Saipan. While with the 73rd, Colonel Sutherland flew 11 missions, totaling 160 combat hours, and was awarded the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster and the Air Medal.
Following the termination of hostilities, Colonel Sutherland organized and directed the drop of supplies to the prisoner-of-war camps in Tapan, China, Korea and Manchuria. In November 1945, he returned to the U.S. to become deputy chief of staff, deputy for operations and commander of the 73rd Bomb Wing at MacDill Field, Fla.
The Crossroads Project in March 1946 brought him to the Los Alamos laboratories where he served as the Air Force technical representative for the project as well as the bomb commander for "Able Mission" at Operation "Crossroads." From October 1946 to December 1949, he was chief of Special Weapons Section of Air Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. During this period, he also served as Air Force staff member of the Los Alamos technical staff and participated in the Sandstone Test, Enniwetok Atoll (1948).
Colonel Sutherland was then appointed to a special study group under the director of intelligence at U.S. Air Force Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Nine months later he entered the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and graduated in June 1951.
He then joined the special weapons team of the War Plans Division, Directorate of Plans, at the Pentagon and in December 1951 was named its chief. In April 1952, he was assigned as assistant to the deputy assistant for guided missiles to the deputy chief of staff for operations at U.S. Air Force Headquarters and was promoted to brigadier general in October 1953.
General Sutherland took command of the 802nd Air Division at Smoky Hill Air Force Base on April 24, 1954. He was then appointed chief of staff of the Fifteenth Air Force on Feb. 23, 1956 and held that position until his assignment as commander of the 3380th Technical Training Wing, Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., in September 1957. While in command at Keesler, General Sutherland was awarded his second oak leaf cluster to the Legion of Merit and in March 1958 was promoted to major general.
General Sutherland assumed command of the 313th Air Division at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, on July 6, 1960. On Sept. 29, 1961 General Sutherland assumed duties as vice commander of Fifth Air Force, with headquarters at Fuchu Air Station near Tokyo.