Retired June 11, 1973. Died June 7, 1980.
Major General Jospeh H. Belser is deputy chief of staff, plans, Headquarters Aerospace Defense Command, Ent Air Force Base, Colo.
General Belser was born in Santa Anna, Texas, in 1921. He completed two years of study in chemical engineering at Oklahoma State University and received a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from the University of Texas in 1950. In January 1942 he joined the Army Air Corps as an aviation cadet, completed flight training at Lubbock, Texas, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in September 1942.
During World War II, in March 1943, General Belser was assigned to the 306th Bombardment Group in England. He completed a combat tour of duty in B-17 aircraft as a flight commander in the European Theater of Operations. In June 1945 he joined the Seventh Air Force operations staff in the Pacific Theater of Operations and was stationed on Okinawa until the end of the war with Japan.
He returned to the United States in October 1945 and served as a squadron commander at Randolph Field, Texas. In June 1946 he became a tactics instructor in the Air Tactical School at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. In June 1948 he entered the University of Texas in Austin and completed his undergraduate studies in chemistry in July 1950.
General Belser then was transferred to Korea. He served as commander of the 13th Bombardment Squadron, 3d Bombardment Wing of the Fifth Air Force and flew night intruder missions for 18 months during the Korean War. He accumulated 69 aerial mission in B-26 aircraft with more than 279 combat hours.
In January 1952 he was transferred to Tactical Air Command Headquarters, Langley Air Force Base, Va., where he served as a staff operations officer.
He became a member of the faculty at the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va., in July 1955. He went to Germany in July 1958 where he was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe for three years as deputy director of air intelligence and later as chief of the Air Defense Division.
General Belaer was transferred to Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base, Mo., in August 1961, where he served as base commander for two years; in August 1963 became deputy for personnel, 29th Air Division; and in July 1964 became deputy for operations, Central North American Air Defense Region. In July 1965 he was assigned as commander of the Sioux City Air Defense Sector, and later was commander of the 30th Air Division (NORAD) at Sioux City Air Base, Iowa.
In August 1967 General Belser was transferred to Syracuse, N.Y., as commander of the 35th Air Division (NORAD), and one year later he became vice commander of the First Air Force, with headquarters at Stewart Air Force Base, N.Y. In April 1969 he became director of operations for North American Air Defense Command/Continental Air Defense Command Headquarters, Ent Air Force Base, Colo.
General Belser assumed duties in July 1970 as chief, Western Hemisphere Division, Director, J-5 (Plans and Policy), The Joint Staff, Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C. In July 1971 he returned to Aerospace Defense Command, Ent Air Force Base, Colo., as deputy chief of staff, plans.
His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with seven oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon.
General Belser's hometown is Fox, Okla.
He was promoted to the temporary grade of major general effective Feb. 26, 1971, with date of rank Oct. 5, 1966.