Retired Nov. 1, 1967.
Major General Richard D. Curtin is deputy defense adviser to the U.S. ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty organization. In this position he advises our U.S. permanent representative to NATO on all military and military-political matters pertaining to U.S. positions in the alliance.
General Curtin was born in Taunton, Mass., in 1915. He graduated from the Taunton High School in 1933 and entered Brown University that year. In 1935 he received a Senatorial appointment to the U.S. Military Academy and graduated in 1939 with a bachelor of science degree as a second lieutenant of Coast Artillery, U.S. Army.
General Curtin's first assignment was that of organizing and training antiaircraft gun batteries at Fort Totten and Fort Jay, N.Y. He later joined these units in the Panama Coast Artillery Command where he served as a battery commander in the isolated jungle outposts defending the Panama Canal. Upon his return from Panama in 1941 he served with the 34th Artillery Brigade at Fort Bragg, N.C., and then the First Army Antiaircraft Command at Fort Totten, N.Y., as an operations officer in the air defense of the Eastern United States until his oversea assignment to the Ninth Air Force in 1944.
General Curtin served with Advanced Headquarters, Ninth Air Force in England, France, Belgium and Germany and was awarded two Bronze Stars for meritorious achievement in special operations in air defensive operations and in connection with operations of the First Allied Airborne Army. Upon his return from Europe in 1946, he was awarded the Legion of Merit for his wartime services.
In April 1946, General Curtin was assigned to the Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., as a member of the original faculty with General Fairchild and charged with the organizing and preparing of the first courses for that new institution. Following two years on the faculty of the Air Command and Staff School, he was assigned to the University of Michigan in 1948 as a student, and received his master of science degree in aeronautical engineering in June 1950.
His next duty was in the War Plans Division of Headquarters U.S. Air Force where he served until June 1954 in guided missile and special project planning. In this position he initiated many of the original concepts for the use of missiles in the Air Force. Another oversea assignment followed as director of plans and then chief of staff of the 17th Air Force in North Africa and Turkey.
Returning to the United States in 1956, General Curtin was assigned to Headquarters Air Research and Development Command prior to joining the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division in February 1958. He became deputy commander, Space Programs at AFBMD in September 1958 and remained in that capacity until June 1960 when he assumed duty as deputy director of systems development, Headquarters, U.S. Air Force, In September 1960 he was assigned as director of missiles and space systems, in the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, in which position he was responsible for all the original U.S. Air Force and National Aeronautics and Space Administration space programs. In January 1960 he was nominated to the grade of brigadier general. His next assignment was as the director of development under the Deputy Chief of Staff for Research and Development. In January 1963 he was nominated for promotion to the grade of major general.
In the final year of his five year Pentagon tour he was the director of air force development planning responsible for many of the new aircraft, missile and space programs in the years to come.
In July of 1965 General Curtin assumed his present duties with station in Paris, France.
He has had a long and varied career in Air Force war planning and the research and development of new weapons, especially missile and space projects. He was one of the original recipients of the U.S. Air Force Guided Missile insignia.