Retired July 31, 1964. Died March 8, 1986.
Maj. Gen. Wendell W. Bowman was born in Harriman, Tenn., in 1908. Upon graduation from high school in his native city, he was selected to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, graduating as a second lieutenant in the Class of 1931.
General Bowman quarterbacked the 1928-29-30 academy football teams that won 23 games, lost seven, and tied two. In the great football rivalry of the era, Notre Dame teams coached by Knute Rockne, squeezed by the cadets, 7-6, 7-0, and 7-6 over this three-year period.
Starting with his assignment to the Army's Signal Corps School in 1934, most of the general's military career has been spent in the communications field. He was one of the first three officers assigned to the Air and Airways Communications Service, now known as the Air Force Communications Service, an organization that grew to 4,500 officers and 70,000 men in World War II.
During a 1942 tour in Central Africa, he supervised the establishment of navigational aids and point-to-point radio communications along 10,000 miles of newly formed African air routes extending through Central Africa the Middle East.
Such activities with the Air and Airways Communications Service earned General Bowman the Legion of Merit in 1946. The citation pointed out his work in developing and building AACS from an infant organization to a worldwide communications network.
In 1947, General Bowman served as deputy director of communications at Headquarters U.S. Air Force in Washington, D.C.
General Bowman, a command pilot since 1943, was assigned as commander, 34th Air Division, Air Defense Command, at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., from July, 1953, to July, 1957. He was assigned to Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base, Mo., in July 1957, as vice commander of the Central Air Defense Force and in November 1959, became its commander. In January 1960, he was named commander of the newly-organized 33rd Air Division (SAGE) upon the inactivation of CADF at Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base.
On July 26, 1961, General Bowman assumed command of the Alaskan Air Command, headquartered at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska.
Current assignment: Deputy Commander, AFSC, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.