Retired May 1, 1970. Died Jan. 26, 2003.
Major General Luther Henry Richmond is director of plans, J-5, U.S. Strike Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. He is responsible for the preparation of plans for the augmentation of other, unified commands; the execution of operations in the Middle East/Southern Asia and Africa South of the Sahara; development of joint concepts and operating procedures for the joint employment of assigned Army and Air Force forces; and advises the commander in chief of USSTRICOM and MEAFSA on all matters pertaining to policy which affect assigned missions.
General Richmond was born in Chicopee, Mass., in 1915. He graduated from Springfield Technical High School, Springfield, Mass., in 1933 and from American International College in 1938, majoring in economics. In July 1938 he entered the Army Air Corps aviation cadet program and the following year graduated and was commissioned a second lieutenant.
His first assignment was to Randolph Field, Texas, as a flight instructor. In 1941 he was assigned to Foster Field, Texas, as training group commander and later as director of flying training.
General Richmond assumed command of the 486th Fighter Squadron at Farmingdale, Long Island, N.Y., in March 1943, and in July went with the squadron to join the Eighth Air Force in England. On April 15, 1944, while flying his 67th combat mission, his P-51 was shot down by enemy ground fire, and he was captured. He was a prisoner of war in Germany until May 1945 when the POW camp was liberated by the Russian First Ukranian Army.
He returned to the United States and in August 1945 was assigned to Selfridge Field, Mich., as base director of operations. There he supervised the flying training of French air force cadets. In July 1946 he became commander of the 8th Fighter Group at Ashiya, Japan, remaining there until his assignment as assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, Headquarters Fifth Air Force, Nagoya, Japan, in 1947.
In 1949 General Richmond was assigned to the Directorate of Plans at Headquarters U.S. Air Force, in Washington, D.C. During the last three years of this tour of duty he served as executive officer to the deputy chief of staff for operations under future Air Force Chief of Staff General Thomas D. White. He left Washington in 1953 and assumed command of the 564th Air Defense Group and Otis Air Force Base, Mass.
In 1955 he returned to Germany to organize the Air Force Section, Military Assistance Advisory Group at Bonn and served as its first chief.
Upon his return to the United States in 1958, he entered the National War College. After graduation General Richmond was reassigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as chief of the Combined Plans Division and later as deputy director of plans for War Plans. He was awarded the Legion of Merit for his work during this time.
In July 1963 the General was assigned to the Plans and Policy Division of Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Paris. In August he was reassigned to Wiesbaden, Germany, for duty as inspector general, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and in April 1965 became deputy chief of staff for operations. In November, he was assigned as vice commander of Seventeenth Air Force with headquarters at Ranistein Air Base, Germany. For his services while assigned to USAFE, the general was awarded his second Legion of Merit.
He assumed command of Nineteenth Air Force in August 1966 and became director of plans, J-5, USSTRICOM, in March 1967.
The general has been awarded the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, and the Purple Heart. He is a command pilot and has logged more than 6,000 hours. Most of his flying has been in fighter aircraft, including the P-40, P-47, P-51 and F-94C.