Retired Sep. 1, 1975. Died Dec. 18, 1989.
Major General William A. Dietrich is chief of staff for the Military Airlift Command with headquarters at Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
Gelneral Dietrich was born in Oklahoma City, Okla., in 1923. He entered the Army Air Corps in June 1942 at the San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center, Texas. He was commissioned a second lieutenant and received his pilot wings at Randolph Field, Texas, in December 1942. After a brief tour of duty at Kelly Field, Texas, to attend instructor pilot school, he returned to Randolph Field for duties as a flight instructor.
In April 1944 he was transferred to the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations and assumed duties as check pilot, flying safety officer, and later as director of operations at Mohanbari Air Base, India. There he was engaged in the famous airlift support missions to China and flew across the "Hump" of the Himalayan Mountains on 106 combat missions in B-25, C-46, and P-40 aircraft.
He returned to the United States in December 1945 and served as a pilot in the Ferrying Division, Long Beach, Calif. In November 1946 he was assigned to the 1700th Air Transport Group of the Air Transport Command, at Kelly Field, as group operations officer and later as squadron commander. During this assignment, he took part in organizing the Heavy Transport Training School in 1950 to train aircrews in the C-97 aircraft.
In September 1952 he was transferred to Palm Beach, Fla., as executive officer for the heavy transport training unit. In March 1953 he was assigned as a squadron operations officer with the 1503d Air Transport Wing at Tokyo, Japan.
General Dietrich attended the Air Force Advanced Management Program from July 1955 to August 1956 and concurrently completed studies for his bachelor of arts degree in business management and administration at The George Washington University. His next assignment was as air transport operations readiness inspector for the U.S. Air Force inspector general at Norton Air Force Base, Calif., from August 1956 to July 1959, when he entered the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
General Dietrich assumed duties as air operations officer on the Joint Staff of the commander-in-chief, U.S. Naval Forces Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean, in London, England, from July 1960 to July 1963. He then returned to the United States to become the assistant deputy director of plans and manpower for the Western Transport Air Force (now Twenty-second Air Force) at Travis Air Force Base, Calif.
In January 1965 he was assigned to the U.S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam as special plans officer and later as deputy secretary of the Joint Staff. While in the Republic of Vietnam, he completed 38 combat missions with 85 combat hours in C-47 aircraft.
In January 1966 General Dietrich was assigned to the 516th Tactical Airlift Wing, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, as deputy commander for operations and in June 1967 was appointed vice commander. He assumed command of the 313th Tactical Airlift Wing, Forbes Air Force Base, Kan., in March 1968.
General Dietrich became commander of the U.S. Air Force Tactical Airlift Center and the 839th Air Division at Pope Air Force Base, N.C., in February 1970. He assumed duties as vice commander of the Twenty-second Air Force, with headquarters at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., in June 1971.
In May 1973 he moved to Headquarters Military Airlift Command at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., to become deputy chief of staff for plans. He assumed duties as MAC chief of staff in October 1973.
His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Distinguished Unit Citation Emblem, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon, and the Chinese Breast Order of Yun Hui for his World War II duties in the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations. He is a command pilot with more than 12,000 hours of flying time in fighters, bombers and almost all types of Air Force cargo aircraft from the C-47 to the C-5.
General Dietrich's hometown is Oklahoma City, Okla.
He was promoted to the grade of major general effective April 2, 1973, with date of rank Aug. 1, 1969.