Military Bios

Major General Lawrence S. Lightner:

Military Branch:United States Airforce
Retired June 1, 1973.   Died Sep. 2, 1989.
Major General Lawrence Scott Lightner is commandant of the Air War College at the Air University. In this capacity, he is responsible for preparing senior officers for high command and staff duty by developing in them a sound understanding of military strategy supporting national security policy. He also Serves as vice commander of Air University.
General Lightner was born in Painesville, Ohio, in 1918. He graduated from high school in San Pedro, Calif., in 1936; Ohio Wesleyan University with a bachelor of arts degree in 1940; and the Air Force Manpower Management Course at The George Washington University in 1953. Following employment with the Management Analysis Office of Douglas Aircraft Company, he entered the U.S. Army Air Corps as an aviation cadet in March 1941 and received his commission as second lieutenant and pilot wings in October 1941.
His first assignment was as an instructor at the Army Air Corps Advanced Flying School at Stockton Field, Calif. In March 1943 he entered bombardment training and later was assigned as operations officer of the 851st Bombardment Squadron at Mountain Home Army Air Field, Idaho. He went to the European Theater of Operations with the squadron which was assigned to the Eighth Air Force and served as squadron commander and deputy group commander. He led his B-17 Flying Fortress group on 24 combat missions over Germany and occupied Europe and participated in D-Day air support for the Normandy invasion. On Nov. 30, 1944, due to plane damage on a mission to Merseburg, Germany, he crash-landed on the Belgium front line and was rescued by a British Army patrol.
After World War II, General Lightner attended Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., 1946-1947. His next assignments were as base commander at Topeka Army Air Field, Kan., and wing operations officer at Westover Air Force Base, Mass. From May 1949 to July 1952, he served overseas as base commander of Wheelus Air Base, Tripoli, Libya; as a squadron commander at Rhein Main Air Base, Germany; deputy wing commander at Wiesbaden, Germany; and base commander in the United Kingdom.
General Lightner returned to the United States in July 1952 and was assigned as chief of staff, Continental Division, Military Air Transport Service, at Kelly Air Force Base, Texas. He graduated from the Air War College in 1955.
From July 1955 until May 1959, General Lightner served with the Directorate of Operations at Headquarters U.S. Air Force in Washington, D.C. In August 1959 he completed B-52 transition training and became commander of the 93d Bombardment Wing (SAC) at Castle Air Force Base, Calif., and in August 1961 he was assigned as commander of the 14th Air Division (SAC), Beale Air Force Base, Calif.
In February 1963 General Lightner was assigned to Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., to command the first Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile wing, the 341st Strategic Missile Wing (SAC), and then the 813th Strategic Aerospace Division.
In July 1965 he was appointed as deputy director, Legislative Liaison, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, and in September 1966 became director of Legislative Liaison.
His next assignment was that of commander, Third Air Force (USAFE), in the United Kingdom. This was followed by appointment as assistant chief of staff, operations, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, in Belgium.
In November 1971, General Lightner was transferred to the Air University as commandant of the Air War College and in May 1972 assumed additional duties as vice commander of the Air University.
His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon, and the French Croix de Guerre. He is a command pilot with more than 7,000 flying hours.
General Lightner's hometown is San Pedro, Calif.
He was promoted to the temporary grade of major general Jan. 1, 1966, with date of rank July 1, 1961.


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