Retired Aug. 1, 1968. Died March 21, 1993.
Major General Woodrow Paul Swancutt is vice commander of Second Air Force with headquarters at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. He fulfills the responsibilities of the commander in his absence and acts as his principal assistant and adviser in the formulation of Second Air Force policies, plans and directives.
General Swancutt was born in Edgar, Wis., in 1915. He graduated from Central High School, La Crosse, Wis., in 1933, and later attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison where he was National Intercollegiate Middleweight Boxing Champion in 1939 and again in 1940. The general entered military service in November 1940,as an aviation cadet. He completed flight training at Kelly Field, Texas, in July 1941, and was commissioned a second lieutenant.
During World War II the general served as a B-29 pilot in the 40th Bombardment Group, 20th Bomber Command - the first B-29 unit to see action. He flew 49 combat missions in the China-Burma-India and Pacific areas. He flew the first B-29 daylight attack on Japan against the Yawata Steel Mills. For this outstanding achievement, the unit was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.
In 1946 the general participated in Operations Crossroad and was selected as the pilot to drop the atomic bomb. This weapon was released from the B-29 "Dave's Dream", July 1, 1946. He was awarded the oak leaf cluster to the Distinguished Flying Cross for this achievement. Following Operations Crossroad, the general was assigned as a squadron commander of the 509th Bombardment Group, Walker Air Force Base, N.M. In September 1949 General Swancutt was assigned to Headquarters Eighth Air Force, at Fort Worth, Texas, where he served as chief of the Operations Division and as deputy director of operations.
In 1952 General Swancutt was assigned to the Seventh Air Division in England and served until 1954 as director of operations. He next was assigned as deputy wing commander, 42d Bombardment Wing at Loring Air Force Base, Maine, and later became commander of that wing.
In March 1957 the general was transferred to Lockbourne Air Force Base, Ohio, as commander of the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, which was awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for outstanding operational activities. The wing was converted in 1957 and became the 376th Bombardment Wing. In 1958, while commander of the 376th Bombardment Wing, General Swancutt received the Strategic Air Command Commander's Accident Prevention Award for outstanding operational activities.
General Swancutt was transferred to Strategic Air Command Headquarters in April 1959 as director of safety. In August of 1960 the joint Strategic Target Planning Staff was formed at SAC and General Swancutt was assigned to the staff. In June 1962 General Swancutt was assigned as commander, 822d Air Division, Turner Air Force Base, Ga., and served in this capacity until January 1965 when he was reassigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as deputy director of operations for forces. In August 1966 he became director of operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. General Swancutt was also chairman of the Air Force Weapons Range Board; member of the Department of Defense Advisory Committee on Federal Aviation; member of Air Reserve Forces Policy Committee; and the steering and coordinating member of the Permanent Joint Board on Defense Canada-United States.
In July 1967 he became vice commander of Second Air Force, with headquarters at Barksdale Air Force Base, La.
The general is a command pilot with more than 8,000 flying hours. His decorations include the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, the Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with oak leaf cluster and the Air Force Commendation Medal.