Retired April 1, 1973. Died March 11, 2004.
Major General Rexford H. Dettre Jr., is deputy director for plans and policy, J-5, the Joint Staff, Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C.
General Dettre was born in Philadelphia, Pa., in 1920. He graduated from Inglewood High School, Inglewood, Calif. He was a member of the 160th Infantry, California National Guard from December 1935 until July 1938 when he enlisted in the Army. He entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., the following year, and graduated with a bachelor of science degree and a commission as second lieutenant in January 1943.
He was assigned to the 331st Fighter Squadron in California and then Washington and in April 1944 was transferred to the 428th Fighter Squadron, Van Nuys, Calif., and moved to England with that unit. Soon after arriving in the European Theater of Operations, he was shot down over the Netherlands, evaded capture for three months, and then became a prisoner of war. He twice made escapes from his captors and returned to the United States in 1945.
From September 1945 to March 1949, General Dettre served with the 1st Fighter Wing at March Air Force Base, Calif. He completed graduate studies in mechanical engineering at the University of California during this time. In April 1949 he was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as a staff officer in the office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations.
During the Korean War from October 1950 to June 1951, he first received combat crew training at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., and then joined the 35th Fighter Group in Korea where he was group operations officer and completed 110 combat missions. In July 1951 he returned to the United States and was assigned to the Central Air Defense Force, Kansas City, Mo. In January 1952 he entered the Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
In July 1952 General Dettre began a three-year term as an instructor and then assistant professor of mathematics at the U.S. Military Academy. In December 1955 he was assigned to the 31st Air Division at Snelling Air Force Station, Minn., as director of operations and training and in 1956 was made deputy for operations. He was assigned in July 1958 to the 65th Air Division at Torrejon Air Base, Spain, as deputy for operations.
General Dettre was reassigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as a member of the Directorate of War Plans in July 1961. One year later, he was assigned to the Directorate of Plans and Policy, the Joint Staff, Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
He became commander of the 408th Fighter Group at Kingsley Field, Ore., in August 1964, and held that position until July 1966 when he was named commander of the 4780th Air Defense Wing at Perrin Air Force Base, Texas. He became commander of the 30th Air Division at Sioux City Air Base, Iowa, in August 1967.
General Dettre was assigned to Headquarters Aerospace Defense Command, Ent Air Force Base, Colo., in August 1968 as assistant deputy chief of staff, plans, and in November 1969, was named deputy chief of staff, plans.
He became assistant chief of staff for plans, J-5, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Republic of Vietnam, in February 1970.
General Dettre was appointed deputy director for plans and policy, J-5, the Joint Staff, Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September 1971.
His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon, and the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation.
General Dettre's hometown is Las Vegas, Nev.
He was promoted to the temporary grade of major general effective July 1, 1970, with date of rank Feb. 1, 1966.