Retired July 1, 1973. Died Nov. 27, 1994.
Major General William S. Chairsell is commander of the U.S. Air Force Tactical Fighter Weapons Center located at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. The center is responsible for developing, analyzing and disseminating fighter aircraft tactics, managing selected operational test and evaluation projects, and performing specialized and advanced training for commanders and individual fighter aircrews.
General Chairsell was born in Birmingham, Ala., in 1919. He completed high school in Richmond, Va., in 1937, entered Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Blacksburg, Va., and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering in 1941. He received a master's degree in business administration from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C., in 1963. He entered aviation cadet training in August 1941 and graduated from Randolph Field, Texas, with a commission as a second lieutenant and his pilot wings in March 1942.
He went to Dale Mabry Field, Tallahassee, Fla., and in June 1942 he was assigned to the Panama Canal Zone, where he served as a fighter pilot. He returned to the United States in June 1944 and served as an instructor with the First Air Force at Suffolk County Air Base, N.Y.
In October 1944 he was assigned as an operations staff planning officer with Headquarters Army Air Forces in Washington, D.C. From January 1947 to December 1949, he was at Neubiberg, Germany, where he served with the 526th Fighter Squadron as a fighter pilot and squadron operations officer; then as commander of the 904th Armament and Electronics Squadron; and lastly as executive officer of the 86th Fighter Wing.
Upon his return to the United States in January 1950, he went to the Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. In July 1950 he again went to the Pentagon where he was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, initially as the executive officer to the director of legislative liaison, and in August 1950 as staff officer in the Flying Training Division, Deputy Chief of Staff, Personnel.
In January 1954 he became commander of the 3302d Pilot Training Squadron at Spence Air Force Base, Moultrie, Ga., and in July was transferred to become commander of the 3505th Pilot Training Group at Greenville Air Force Base, Miss.
General Chairsell assumed duties as deputy commander of the 49th Fighter Bomber Group at Nagoya, Japan, in January 1956. In February 1957 he was transferred to Kadena, Okinawa, to serve as director of operations, 18th Tactical Fighter Wing, with additional duty as deputy wing commander and in July 1958 he assumed command of the wing.
He was assigned in September 1958 to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, with the former Air Research and Development Command, where he served as the assistant deputy chief of staff for plans and operations with the Wright Air Development Center, and in July 1959 he was appointed chief of the Operations Office for the Directorate of Laboratories with additional duties as the assistant director of laboratories. While at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, he also served as assistant director of systems engineering for the newly formed Aeronautical Systems Division of the Air Force Systems Command and later, for a brief time, as their deputy chief of staff for personnel.
In August 1961 he went to the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Fort McNair, Washington, D.C.; and in June 1962 he went to the Pentagon as a member of the Operations Division of the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He served in that capacity for two years.
He assumed command of the 49th Tactical Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, in August 1964 and was transferred in August 1966 to Southeast Asia to serve as the commander of the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. After returning from Thailand, he was assigned as vice commander of Air Force Systems Command's Armament Development and Test Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., in August of 1969.
General Chairsell became vice commander, Ninth Air Force, with headquarters at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., in July 1970. He assumed the position of commander, U.S. Air Force Tactical Fighter Weapons Center, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., in July 1971.
His military decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with 10 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Presidential Unit Citation Emblem, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, and Brazil Order of Southern Cross.
He was promoted to the grade of major general effective Feb. 24, 1970, with date of rank Aug. 10, 1965.