Retired April 1, 1966. Died Nov. 16, 1992.
John William White was born in Uvalde, Texas in 1910. He graduated from Uvalde High School in 1928 and attended St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas for one year and Texas A&M for one semester in the fall of 1929, in 1930, he received a Congressional appointment to the U.S. Military Academy. He graduated in 1934.
Second Lieutenant White's first assignment was that of student officer at Randolph Field, Texas. In 1935, he received his pilot's wings and observers rating at Kelly Field and today is rated a command pilot.
Lieutenant White's first assignment after Kelly Field was March Field, Calif. While a member of the 19th Bombardment Group, he qualified as a navigator and a bombardier. In 1937, he was ordered to the Communications School at Chanute Field, Ill., and from 1938 to 1940 he served as a flight instructor and as assistant base adjutant at Randolph Field, Texas.
From 1941 to 1945 he helped establish and operate five Bombardier schools. He served as commanding officer at two of these schools. These activities earned Colonel White the Legion of Merit in 1945, the citation stating
"Colonel John W. White, 019550, Air Corps, U.S. Army. As director of bombardier training at Midland and Big Spring, Texas, and as commanding officer, Childress and Midland Army Air fields, during the period from November 1941 to June 1945. Colonel White selected sites, negotiated for leases and supervised construction of bombing targets for three Bombardier Schools totaling 56 separate sites. Field training exercises and competitive bombing meets initiated by Colonel White were designed to raise the standards of bombing to the degree most suited to the combat needs of the Army Air Forces."
In 1945 Colonel White was given command of the 485th B-29 Group destined for duty in the Pacific. The war terminated before his group departed the United States.
From 1946 to 1948 Colonel White served on the staff of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe. He was one of the five original officers assigned to the staff of the Berlin Airlift and served as director of plans for this organization.
He returned to the United States in 1949 and graduated from the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in 1950. From 1950 to 1953 he served at Mather Air Force Base, Calif., as training group commander and as wing/base commander.
Colonel White entered the National War College in Washington, D.C. in August 1953, graduating in June 1954. For the next year he served as deputy chief of the Policy Division in Air Force Plans and as a member of the Joint Strategic Plans Group in the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
With his promotion to brigadier general in July 1955 he assumed command of the Iceland Defense Force, a sub-unified command of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In 1957, General White was awarded the first oak leaf cluster to the Legion of Merit for his performance of duty in Iceland, the citation reading
"Brigadier General John W. White distinguished himself by exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service to the United States from 3 August 1955 to 19 August 1957 as commander, Iceland Defense Force. In this important and responsible assignment, General White's outstanding ability, policy insight, planning and programming have contributed to the establishment of objective goals to meet future requirements. The leadership, outstanding devotion to duty and initiative displayed by General White reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force."
General White served as deputy chief of the Defense Atomic Support Agency from August 1957 to August 1960.
From August 1960 to July 1962 he served as assistant for special weapons and as commander of the 3079th Aviation Depot Wing in the Air Force Logistics Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
General White is presently serving as commander of the Air Force Special Weapons center at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.
General White's paternal grandfather served under General Nathan B. Forrest in the Confederate Army and his great uncle, Colonel Jose Navarro was a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence.