Retired June 1, 1965. Died July 4, 1986.
William Thomas Hudnell was born in Aurora, N.C., in 1908. He graduated from Washington High School in 1926, and attended the University of North Carolina, Bethany College and St. Mary's University. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1931.
In July 1932, he entered cadet training at Randolph Field, Texas. In June 1933, he received his pilot's wings and a commission as a second lieutenant, Air Corps Reserve at Kelly Field, and today is rated a command pilot.
Lieutenant Hudnell's first assignment after Kelly Field was with the 8th Pursuit Group at Langley Field, Va. In 1935 he was selected for a Regular Army Air Corps commission while on duty with pursuit (now "fighter") aviation. From 1935 to 1943 he held various command and logistic staff assignments. For successfully landing a plane with jammed controls, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1940. Having displayed a great interest in tactical logistics, he was appointed assistant chief of staff for materiel of the First Fighter Command in 1942.
Going to the southwest Pacific in July 1943, he remained in that operational theater until the end of the war, serving as deputy chief of staff, personnel, logistics and administration, Headquarters Far East Air Force, and in 1944 was appointed chief of staff and assistant chief of staff for materiel of the Fifth Air Force. Such activities earned Colonel Hudnell the Legion of Merit in 1945. The citation stated, "The Legion of Merit, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services during the period from November 1944 to July 1945, is awarded by the commander-in-chief, U.S. Army Forces, Pacific, to Colonel William T. Hudnell." During this same period, he was awarded the Air Medal for the destruction of an enemy aircraft over Cebu Island, the Philippines. He was also awarded an oak leaf cluster to the Air Medal for combat missions flown in the southwest Pacific Area.
The colonel, in 1946, was appointed wing commander of the 56th Fighter Wing at Selfridge Air Force Base, Mich. As a result of his work in improved relations between the civilian population and the military he was awarded several civilian and military citations and was made an honorary life member of the Michigan Aero Club.
After attending the Air War College in 1949-1950, he was assigned as chief, Plans Division and later, the assistant for logistic plans in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Materiel, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. As an additional duty, he was appointed Air Force member of the Joint Logistics Plans Committee, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Department of Defense. He was promoted to brigadier general in February 1952.
The general, in 1954, became vice commander of the Far-East Logistic Force at Tachikawa Air Base, Japan and was appointed commander of the Air Materiel Force, Pacific Area, in November 1955. He was promoted to major general Oct. 24, 1956. In June 1957, Headquarters Air Materiel Force, Pacific Area moved to Wheeler Air Force Base, Hawaii, where he remained until June 1958. In recognition of his services in aiding the following Air Forces in building and improving their logistics structures, he was awarded the following decorations.
Korea the Order of the Military Merit Taeguk
China the Order of the Cloud and Banner
Japan the Order of the Rising Sun, 3d Class
Thailand Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand, 2d Class
He was appointed director of maintenance-engineering, Headquarters Air Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, Aug. 18, 1958, in which capacity he served until August 1960. On Aug. 30, 1960, he assumed command of the San Antonio Air Materiel Area (AMC - now AFLC), Kelly Air Force Base, Texas, and serves as commander at the present time.
General Hudnell is the son of William Thomas Hudnell Sr., deceased, and Minnie Latham Hudnell, deceased, of Washington, N.C. He is a member of the Episcopal Church and Sigma Nu Fraternity, an honorary life member of the Michigan Aero Space Association (formerly Aero Club of Michigan); charter member of the Air Force Association; member of the Army-Navy Country Club, Washington, D.C.; Order of Daedalians; and the San Antonio Country Club, Chamber of Commerce, and Rotary Club.
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Rank Temporary Permanent
Second lieutenant June 29, 1933 July 1, 1933
First lieutenant Dec. 16, 1935 Aug. 1, 1938
Captain Oct. 2, 1940 Oct. 5, 1945
Major Dec. 5, 1941
Lieutenant colonel March 1, 1942 July 1, 1948
Colonel Sept. 17, 1943 Oct. 19, 1949
Brigadier general March 8, 1952 March 10, 1958
Major general Jan. 1, 1952 Aug. 6, 1955
Fishing, boating, camping, golfing and Hi-Fi comprise his principal hobbies. Author of several treatises on fighter aviation and air logistics. Charter member Air Force Association; member Episcopal Church; Sigma Nu Fraternity; Michigan Aero Space Association (Honorary Life Member); Army-Navy Country Club, Washington, D. C.; Order of Daedalians; Board of Directors, United Services Auto Association; and the San Antonio Country Club, San Antonio Chamber of Commerce (member of the Board of Directors), San Antonio Rotary Club, and San Antonio Zoo and Aquarium Association.
DECORATIONS AND MEDALS
Distinguished Flying Cross Jan. 9, 1941
Air Medal with oak leaf cluster May 18, 1945
Legion of Merit Aug. 12, 1945
American Defense Service Medal July 31, 1953
American Campaign Medal July 31, 1953
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign with bronze arrowhead and silver star July 31, 1953
World War II Victory Medal July 31, 1953
National Defense Service Ribbon July 31, 1953
Philippine Liberation Ribbon July 31, 1953
Philippine Independence Ribbon July 31, 1953
Commendation Ribbon with oak leaf cluster April 30, 1954
the Order of the Military Merit Taeguk (Korea) May 21, 1957
the Order of the Cloud and Banner (China) Sept. 2, 1957
the Order of the Rising Sun, 3d Class (Japan.) Sept. 26, 1957
Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand, 2d Class (Thailand) Jan 28, 1960
the Order of the Military Merit Taeguk and the citation accompanying the award were presented to General Hudnell May 21, 1957, by Syngman Rhee, president of the Republic of Korea. This presentation was made in recognition and appreciation for outstanding service rendered to the country of Korea during his assignment as commander of the Air Materiel Force, Pacific Area.
Planes or equipment destroyed Nov. 12, 1944 - One enemy fighter plane (Japanese "George") destroyed in aerial combat over Cebu Island, Philippines
Captures; Escapes; Rescues; Narrow Escapes: None
Prisoner of war experience; wounds: None