Retired Aug. 1, 1978. Died Oct. 31, 1995.
Major General William B. Yancey Jr., is vice commander of the 16th Air Force, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, with headquarters at Torrejon Air Base, Spain. As vice commander, he is charged with exercising responsibility for U.S. forces located in Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey.
General Yancey was born in Berwyn, Md., in 1924. He graduated from high school in Fayetteville, N.C., in 1942, and attended Virginia Military Institute for three months prior to entering the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y. He received flying training while at the academy and in 1946 was graduated with a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps and received his pilot wings.
He attended fighter transition training at Williams Field, Ariz., in June 1946 and then was assigned as a pilot in the 20th Fighter Group and later the 77th Fighter Squadron at Shaw Field, S.C. He was transferred to Naha, Okinawa, in 1948 and served as a jet fighter pilot, flying F-80s with the 51st Fighter Group.
General Yancey returned to the United States in June 1950 for duty with the 334th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, 4th Fighter Group, New Castle, Del. He moved with the group to the Republic of Korea in November 1950 and flew 59 combat missions in F-86s during the Korean War.
In July 1951 General Yancey was transferred to the 56th Fighter-Interceptor Group, Oscoda Air Force Base, Mich., and later moved to the parent organization, the 4708th Defense Wing at Selfridge Air Force Base, Mich., as assistant deputy commander for operations.
General Yancey became air officer commanding, Air Force Cadet Wing, in January 1955, and later of the 1st and 2d Groups at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.
General Yancey was transferred to Europe in August 1958 and became deputy director for operations, Headquarters 36th Tactical Fighter Wing, Bitburg Air Base, Germany, and later was operations officer, 32d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at Soesterberg, The Netherlands.
He returned to the United States in August 1961 to attend the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va., and after graduation in January 1962 was assigned as chief, Special Training Division, Directorate of Operations, Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va. In August 1963 he entered the Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
In July 1964 General Yancey was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., where he served as action officer, branch chief and assistant division chief in the Directorate of Plans, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations. He became vice commander, 4525th Fighter-Weapons Wing, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., in July 1968, and was assigned as commander, 113th Tactical Fighter Wing, Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, S.C., in October 1968.
In August 1969 General Yancey was transferred to the Republic of Vietnam and assigned as commander, 31st Tactical Fighter Wing at Tuy Hoa Air Base. While on this assignment, he flew approximately 350 combat hours in the F-100. He returned to the Directorate of Plans at Headquarters U.S. Air Force in July 1970 and was assistant deputy director for force development until January 1972 when he assumed duty as deputy director.
General Yancey was assigned to the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as chief, Objective Plans and Military Assistance Division, in the Plans and Policy Directorate, in January 1973.
In August 1974 General Yancey was named director of plans and policy for the U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany. He became vice commander of the 16th Air Force in June 1976.
He is a command pilot. 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 14 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Distinguished Unit Citation Emblem with oak leaf cluster.
General Yancey was promoted to the grade of major general on Aug. 1, 1974, with date of rank March 1, 1972.