Retired April 1, 1977.
Major General Ray A. Robinson Jr., is chief of staff of the Allied Air Forces Southern Europe, with headquarters at Naples, Italy. AIRSOUTH, the land-based air arm of NATO's Allied Forces Southern Europe command, is responsible for providing air defense through air superiority over Southern Region skies.
General Robinson was born in 1921, in Little Rock, Ark., where he graduated from Little Rock High School in 1939. He attended Arkansas Polytechnic College, 1939-40, and Little Rock Junior College, 1941. He began his military career in October 1941 as an aviation cadet and in June 1942 received his pilot wings and commission as second lieutenant at Moore Field, Texas.
In July 1942, during World War II, he went to the Panama Canal Zone and was assigned to the 36th Fighter Group which later went to England. While in the European Theater of Operations he participated in air combat missions over Germany and France and in the D-Day invasion, flying top cover in a P-47 aircraft. During the last six months of the war in Europe, he commanded the 53d Fighter Squadron in France and Germany. He completed 104 missions with a total of 350 combat hours.
Following World War II, he was released from active duty in February 1946 and became a member of the Oklahoma Air National Guard and commander of the 185th Fighter Squadron. He was recalled to active military duty in October 1950 during the Korean War, served as operations and training officer with the 137th Tactical Fighter Wing, and then the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing at Alexandria Air Force Base, La.
General Robinson went to Europe in May 1952 with the 48th Wing, and served as director of operations and later as group commander at Chaumont, France. In January 1954 he was transferred to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, where he served as chief, Fighter Operations Branch, and later as assistant director, Combat Operations, for the Twelfth Air Force.
In May 1955 he returned to the United States and was assigned as Air Force adviser to the 123d Fighter Interceptor Squadron of the Oregon Air National Guard at Portland. He entered the Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in August 1958 and after graduation in July 1959 became commander, 523d Tactical Fighter Squadron, Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.
From July 1960 to July 1962 General Robinson was adviser to the Nationalist Chinese 4th Fighter Wing on Taiwan. He next was assigned to the 354th Tactical Fighter Wing at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, S.C., where he became director of operations.
General Robinson was transferred in May 1964 to the Republic of Vietnam as director, Air Support Operations Center, III Corps. He entered the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in July 1965.
He began his assignments with the Aerospace Defense Command in July 1966, when he became deputy for operations, 328th Fighter Wing, Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base, Mo. In February 1967 he moved to the 30th Air Division, Sioux City Air Base, Iowa, as director of operations; in May 1968 he became director of operations, 35th Air Division, at Hancock Field, N.Y.; and in July 1969 he was assigned as commander of the 33d Air Division at Fort Lee Air Force Station, Va.
General Robinson was transferred to Headquarters ADC in July 1970 as assistant deputy chief of staff, Plans. In August 1970 he assumed duties as command inspector general, and in February 1972 was appointed deputy chief of staff, Operations. He was assigned as commander of the 21st North American Air Defense Command/Continental Air Defense Command Region, with headquarters at Hancock Field, N.Y., and additional duty as commander of the 21st Air Division in June 1973. General Robinson assumed the position of chief of staff of Allied Air Forces Southern Europe at Naples, Italy, on Aug. 1, 1975.
He is a command pilot with 6,600 flying hours. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal (Air Force), Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster; Bronze Star Medal; Meritorious Service Medal; Air Medal with 16 oak leaf clusters; Joint Service Commendation Medal; Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Presidential Unit Citation Emblem with oak leaf cluster; Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon with three oak leaf clusters; Belgian Fourragere; Croix de Guerre, France; and Meritorious Air Gallantry Medal with gold wing, Republic of Vietnam.
General Robinson's hometown is Little Rock, Ark.
He was promoted to the grade of major general effective April 2, 1973, with date of rank Aug. 1, 1969.