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Major General William B. Martensen:

Military Branch:United States Airforce
Died June 23, 1968.
Major General William B. Martensen assumed command of the 1st Strategic Aerospace Division at Vandenberg Air Force Base June 27, 1967.
He had formerly been assigned as the assistant deputy chief of staff/operations at Strategic Air Command headquarters, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.
The general was born in 1916, in Pasadena, Calif. After graduating from Pomona High School, Pomona, Calif., in 1934, he went on to Pomona Junior College.
He volunteered for aviation cadets in November 1941 and received his Army Air Corps pilot wings and second lieutenant commission in May 1942. General Martensen's first assignment after graduation was to the 11th Bomb Group, Hawaii, as a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot.
While with the group he flew missions against airfields, supply dumps, ships, troop positions and other objectives in the South Pacific. He moved with the unit to the Solomon Islands, and completed his first World War II combat tour at Guadalcanal in April 1943.
Upon return from overseas, he was assigned to the 346th Bomb Group at Dyersburg Field, Tenn., until volunteering for a second combat tour with the B-29 bombers. He departed for India with the group in April 1944 after a brief transition period at Smoky Hill Field, Salina, Kan.
After arriving at Kharagpur, India, he participated in the first bombardment missions on Japan since the Doolittle Raid in 1942. After more than 650 hours of combat flying in the South Pacific, China-Burma-India and the Marianas theaters of operations, he returned to the United States in November 1945.
During his second combat tour, the general was training officer for the 20th Bomber Command and deputy director of operations for the 58th Bomb Wing in addition to his assignment as an aircraft commander.
The general flew 62 combat missions in B-17 and B-29 aircraft during World War II.
After World War II, General Martensen was assigned as deputy chief of the training division for Task Force 1.8, Operation "CROSSROAD," at Roswell, N.M. The operation was the atomic bomb test program on the Bikini Atoll.
In July 1946, he became chief of the training division for Headquarters Eighth Air Force, then at Carswell Air Force Base, Texas. Nearly three years later, in April 1949, the general returned to Roswell to command the 393rd Bombardment Squadron of the 509th Bombardment Wing at Walker Air Force Base, N.M.
He was assigned to Headquarters Strategic Air Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., in October 1951 as chief of the surveillance branch, directorate of operations, and later became deputy chief of the training division. From this assignment he entered the Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in July 1954 and graduated in June of the following year.
After graduating from the college, General Martensen became vice commander of the 11th Bombardment Wing, Carswell Air Force Base, Texas. During that assignment, he spent seven months on temporary duty at Goose Air Base, Labrador, as deputy commander of an air refueling task force and liaison officer for the Strategic Air Command.
General Martensen commanded the 4123rd Strategic Wing from Dec. 19, 1957, to July 15, 1960. The 4123rd SW was the first strategic wing organized in the Strategic Air Command and was activated at Carswell Air Force Base and equipped with B-52 jet bombers and KC-135 aerial tankers. In March 1959, his wing moved to Clinton-Sherman Air Force Base, Okla., where he conducted a nine-month test of the airborne alert program. The wing received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for participation in the test program.
The general's first assignment at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., began in July 1960 when he became deputy director of operations for Headquarters Second Air Force. In August the following year, he became the director of operations, a position he held until Sept. 10, 1962, when he received a second assignment at Headquarters SAC. He was chief of the control division, directorate of operations, until March 1, 1963, when he entered the Titan Missile Launch Officer's School at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas.
Upon graduation from the school May 1, 1963, he was promoted to brigadier general and assigned to Blytheville Air Force Base, Ark., as commander of the 42nd Air Division. From there, he was assigned to Barksdale Air Force Base for a second tour, this time as the director of materiel and later as chief of staff.
He was the chief of staff at Second Air Force headquarters from April 5, 1965, until his reassignment to Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D.
General Martensen assumed command of the 4th Strategic Aerospace Division at Grand Forks Air Force Base July 1, 1965, and became assistant deputy chief of staff/operations, SAC, Oct. 1, 1966. From there he moved to Vandenberg Air Force Base as 1st STRAD commander.
He was promoted to the grade of major general on Nov. 1, 1967.

 

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