Retired June 1, 1982.
Major General Melvin G. Bowling is special assistant to the commander, Air Training Command, with duty at Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
General Bowling was born in Morgan City, Ala., in 1933 and attended Union Hill High School. He received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Alabama in 1954 and a master's degree in government from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C., in 1965. He is also a graduate of Squadron Officer School and Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base and the National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
He received a commission in March 1954 through the Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps program. After completion of pilot and advanced flying training in July 1956, he was assigned to Ethan Allen Air Force Base, Vt., as an all-weather interceptor pilot. In August 1958 he became a staff officer in the semiautomatic ground environment air defense system at Stewart Air Force Base and Hancock Field, N.Y.
After attending Squadron Officer School in 1960, he served as operations officer for carrier-based squadrons during exchange pilot duty with the U.S. Navy from January 1961 until September 1962. This tour of duty included cruises with the Mediterranean 6th Fleet and the 2nd Fleet in the Atlantic and Caribbean areas.
From September 1962 until August 1964, he served as an operational test pilot and operations officer with the 4750th Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. The 4750th was responsible for developing and testing air-to-air radar, infrared fire control systems, armaments, tactics and drone applications, in addition to supporting special projects directed by Headquarters U.S. Air Force. Following graduation from the Air Command and Staff College in July 1965, he served with the U.S. Strike Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., until August 1966. He then transferred to the Continental Air Command at Robins Air Force Base, Ga. In June 1967 he returned to MacDill Air Force Base for F-4 training.
In January 1968 General Bowling was assigned to the 12th Tactical Fighter Wing at Cam Ranh Bay Air Base, Republic of Vietnam. While there he flew more than 200 combat missions, served as squadron operations officer, squadron commander and director of the tactical unit operations center. His squadron deployed to Kunsan and Taegu Air Bases, South Korea, during the USS Pueblo crisis. The general returned to the United States in February 1969 as deputy chief of the Internal Information Division in the Secretary of the Air Force Office of Information, Washington, D.C. He entered the National War College in August 1970.
Following graduation in July 1971, General Bowling became vice commander of the 68th Bombardment Wing, Strategic Air Command, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C. During this assignment he served a temporary tour of duty at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. He returned to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and took command of the 68th Bombardment Wing in June 1972. While commander he served another temporary tour of duty as vice commander of 17th Air Division at U-Tapao Royal Thai Naval Airfield, Thailand, which provided combat experience in bomber tanker and reconnaissance operations.
The general resumed to Washington, D.C., in May 1973 and was assigned to the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as chief, Strategic Negotiations Branch, International Negotiations Division, Plans and Policy Directorate, J-5. In August 1974 he became commander of the Strategic Air Command's 4th Air Division at Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. The division included five Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, B-52 and KC-135 wings.
In September 1975 he was named deputy chief of staff for operations and was responsible for all Air Force pilot, navigator and aircraft survival training at Headquarters Air Training Command, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. He then assumed duties as commander of the U.S. Air Force Recruiting Service and deputy chief of staff, recruiting, for Headquarters Air Training Command in September 1976. He directed all U.S. Air Force recruiting efforts, except for the U.S. Air Force Academy. From June 1978 to August 1980, the general was deputy commander of the 6th Allied Tactical Air Force at Izmir, Turkey. He then transferred to Naples, Italy, as chief of staff for Allied Forces Southern Europe. He assumed his present duties in February 1982.
General Bowling is a command pilot with more than 6,500 hours flying time in many types of aircraft. His military decorations and awards include the Silver Star, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with seven oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster and Navy Commendation Medal.
He was promoted to major general July 1, 1977, with date of rank May 1, 1974.