Retired Oct. 1, 1979.
Major General John W. Collens III is the deputy inspector general, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
General Collens was born in 1924 in Monroe, La. He attended Loyola University at New Orleans, the University of Mississippi, and Schreiner College at Kerrville, Texas. He graduated from Squadron Officer School in 1953 and the Air Command and Staff College in 1961.
He began his military career in March 1943 during World War II as an aviation cadet and received his commission and pilot wings in April 1944. He was assigned to Gulfport Army Air Field, Miss., until October 1944, when he went to the European theater of operations where he flew 28 B-17 combat missions with the 96th Bombardment Squadron. He was released from active duty in October 1945.
In March 1949 General Collens returned to active duty. After attending the weather officer course at Chanute Air Force Base, Ill., he entered the Air Weather Service. In March 1950 he was sent to Okinawa as weather officer for the 15th Weather Squadron, and in March 1951 joined the 6166th Air Weather Reconnaissance Flight in Korea. During the Korean War he flew 75 tactical weather reconnaissance missions in the weather-modified B-26 aircraft.
General Collens was weather forecaster at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., from October 1951 to July 1954. He then went to Germany and commanded the weather detachment serving the 66th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Sembach Air Base from July 1954 to October 1956. He next moved to Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe at Ramstein Air Base to serve on the weather operations staff.
In July 1958 General Collens returned to the United States for duty as a staff duty officer, Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans, at Headquarters Air Weather Service, Scott Air Force Base, I11. He entered the Command and Staff College in July 1960.
From July 1961 to July 1963, General Collens served on the Twelfth Air Force weather operations staff at Waco, Texas. His next assignment was as staff weather officer for Air Task Force 13 and U.S. Taiwan Defense Command at Taipei, Taiwan. From July 1965 to September 1966, he was assigned to the 5th Weather Wing at Langley Air Force Base, Va.
General Collens joined the 58th Military Airlift Squadron at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., in September 1966 where he flew C-141s operating into Vietnam. He then moved to Military Airlift Command headquarters at Scott Air Force Base and served as chief, civil air division, and later as director, studies and analysis. He was vice commander of the Air Weather Service from June 1971 to May 1973, then assumed command of the 9th Weather Reconnaissance Wing at McClellan Air Force Base, Calif.
In February 1974 General Collens again returned to Scott Air Force Base as commander of the Air Weather Service. In August 1975 he became deputy chief of staff for plans, Military Airlift Command, and in July 1977 became chief of staff. He assumed his present position in November 1978.
He is a command pilot with more than 5,600 flying hours which includes more than 1,200 hours in single jet engine aircraft. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters, and Air Force Commendation Medal.
He is a member of the Air Force Association, American Meteorological Society, National Defense Transportation Association and Order of Daedalians.
He was promoted to the grade of major general on Sept. 1, 1976, with date of rank Aug. 2, 1973.