Retired July 31, 1963. Died Jan. 31, 1986.
Joseph Edward Gill was born in Newton, Mass., in 1909. He graduated from Newton High School, Newton, Mass., in 1926, and then attended Boston College where he completed two years of study toward a bachelor of arts degree. In July 1928, he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, from which he graduated and was commissioned a second lieutenant of field artillery, and was detailed immediately to the Quartermaster Corps for duty with the Constructing Quartermaster June 10, 1932.
His first assignment was as assistant to the constructing quartermaster, Bolling Field, Washington, D.C., at which time construction of Bolling Air Force Base, as now located and configured, was just starting. From June 1933 to September 1936 he was assigned as assistant to the constructing quartermaster, San Francisco and vicinity, at Fort Mason, Calif. In addition to all construction work at the Presidio, Fort Scott, forts Baker and Barry, and the Benecia Arsenal during this period, this office initiated construction of Hamilton Field, Calif.
From September 1936 to June 19371 he was assigned as assistant to the constructing quartermaster, Sacramento Air Depot, at the time of the start of the construction of what is now called McClellan Air Force Base, Sacramento, Calif.
In September 1937 he entered the University of Michigan where he earned the degree of master of science in civil engineering.
From July 1938 to March 1940 he was appointed constructing quartermaster, Savanna Ordnance Depot, Savanna, Ill. In this position, he was in charge of all design, construction contracting, inspection supervision and acceptance of ordnance facilities during a period of rapid expansion, starting with President Roosevelt's expedited "pump priming" of the U.S. economy and extending well into this country's military facilities expansion for World War II. In addition to ordnance storage facilities and supporting rail and road services, several ammunition production facilities were designed and constructed which became the prototypes of the tremendous expansion of these facilities throughout the country in the early war years.
From March 1940 until April 1942, he was assigned as assistant to the zone constructing quartermaster (later changed to district engineer), Atlanta, Ga. He was responsible for all ordnance construction in the southeastern states, from North Carolina to Louisiana, a total of nine major projects costing in excess of $350 million.
From April to November 1942 he was assigned as assistant to the district engineer, Louisville, Ky., where he was responsible for all airfield construction, a program involving 15 separate new Army Air Corps facilities.
After a brief assignment as district engineer, Cincinnati District, in November 1942, he was assigned as district engineer, Miami District, Miami, Fla., until June 1943. In this position he was also contracting officer for the Recife, Brazil, District. The Miami District construction involved 26 airfields in the Caribbean and Central and South America - primarily for World War II aircraft ferrying operations.
In June 1943 he was assigned commanding officer of the 1315th Engineer General Service Regiment at Camp Sutton, N.C.
After completing the organization and training of this regiment, he was assigned in March 1944 to the Base Section Engineer, Western Base Section, at Chester, England, but spent most of this period at Newport, Monmouthshire in Wales, as assistant to the engineer in charge, Operation Overlord, Bristol Channel Ports.
From September 1944 to February 1945 he was deputy base section engineer and later base section engineer, Channel Base Section in Northern France and Belgium, where the principal effort was reconstruction of the damaged seaports of land lines of communication from Rouen, LeHavre, Ghent and Antwerp.
From March 1945 to March 1946 he was assigned base section engineer, Chanor Base Section, Brussels, Belgium - principal activities were construction of redeployment camps for more than 100,000 troops, initiated repair rehabilitation for shipment to Pacific Theatre of 25,000 pieces of heavy engineer equipment.
From May to December 1946, he was base section engineer, Western Base Section, Paris, France. This was the close-out base section covering France, Belgium, England, Holland and Luxembourg. All real property and more than 100 million tons of engineer supply and equipment were disposed of. From February 1947 to June 1947 he was assigned as Air Force liaison officer, Office of the Division Engineer, Atlanta, Ga.
From June 1947 to February 1948 he was assigned to the Directorate of Installations, Headquarters, U.S. Air Force, from which position he was assigned to the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va.
After graduation in June 1948, he was assigned to the Construction Branch of the Logistics Division, U.S. Army General Staff, Washington, D.C.
He transferred in May 1949 to the U.S. Air Force and was assigned as acting deputy director of installations until July 1951, at which time he was assigned as a student to the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C.
Upon graduation he was assigned as director of installations to the newly formed Air Research and Development Command at Baltimore, Md.
Upon the passage of the large Third Slice of NATO Common Infrastructure, General Gill received a "hurry up" assignment to SHAPE, Paris, France, where as chief of the Airfields Construction Section, he monitored the construction of 175 airfields in 10 NATO countries from Norway to Turkey.
Upon return from SHAPE, he was assigned in August 1955 as deputy director of facilities support, Assistant Chief of Staff, Installations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. Serving in this position until June 1958, he was responsible for launching the Capehart housing construction program - the largest construction program ever designed and constructed directly by the Air Force as its own construction agent. It involved some 60,000 modern Air Force family houses. He was successful in introducing for the first time by any of the services air conditioning for family housing. In addition, the acquisition and modernization of 38,000 Wherry family housing was accomplished under a progress schedule that was far in advance of the other services. The overseas programs for surplus commodity and rental guarantee family housing were also under his cognizance during this period. In this position he was also responsible for Air Staff direction of operation and maintenance of Air Force bases worldwide.
In July 1959, General Gill was assigned as deputy chief of staff for civil engineering, Headquarters Air Defense Command, Colorado Springs, Colo. In addition to the militarization of the operation and maintenance of the extensive SAGE power plants, the take-over of depot level maintenance of AC&W power plants, significant improvements to ADC bases including the Dew Line, this period was notable, for the initiation of design and construction of the hardened NORAD COC located under hundreds of feet of granite in Mount Cheyenne, Colo.
In July 1960, General Gill received another "rush" assignment to the Ballistics Missile Center (later Ballistics Systems Division) in Inglewood, Calif., where he served as deputy commander for site activation for the large Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Program. Under a major Air Force-Army reorganization of the Ballistic Missile Program and the incorporation of an Army Corps of Engineer general officer into the Air Force organizational structure, coincident with General Gill's promotion to major general in March 1961, he was assigned to Headquarters Air Force Logistics Command at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, as command civil engineer, his present position.