General Ira Clarence Eaker (April 13, 1896 – August 6, 1987) was a general of the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. Eaker, as second-in-command of the prospective Eighth Air Force, was sent to England to form and organize its bomber command. However while he struggled to build up airpower in England, the organization of the Army Air Forces kept evolving and he was named commander of the Eighth Air Force on December 1, 1942.
Although his background was in single-engine fighter aircraft, Eaker became the architect of a strategic bombing force that ultimately numbered forty groups of 60 heavy bombers each, supported by a subordinate fighter command of 1,500 aircraft, most of which was in place by the time he relinquished command at the start of 1944.
Eaker then took overall command of four Allied air forces based in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, and by the end of World War II had been named Deputy Commander of the U.S. Army Air Forces. He worked in the aerospace industry following his retirement from the military, then became a newspaper columnist.
Ira C. Eaker
Lt Gen Ira C. Eaker, USAAF, Deputy Commander of the Army Air Forces
|Birth name||Ira Clarence Eaker|
|Born||April 13, 1896|
Field Creek, Texas
|Died||August 6, 1987 (aged 91)|
Andrews AFB, Maryland
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/|| Infantry, United States Army|
Air Service, United States Army
United States Army Air Corps
United States Army Air Forces
United States Air Force
|Years of service||1917–1947|
|Commands held||Eighth Air Force|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Other work||VP of Hughes Aircraft (1947–57) and Douglas Aircraft (1957–61)|
He was appointed a second lieutenant of Infantry, Officer's Reserve Corps, and assigned to active duty with the 64th Infantry Regiment at Camp Bliss, El Paso, Texas. The 64th Infantry was assigned to the 14th Infantry Brigade on December 20, 1917, to be part of the 7th Infantry Division when it deployed to France.
Eaker remained with the 64th Infantry until March 1918, when he was placed on detached service to receive flying instruction at Austin and Kelly Fields in Texas. Upon graduation the following October, he was rated a pilot and assigned to Rockwell Field, California.
In July 1919, he transferred to the Philippine Islands, where he served with the 2d Aero Squadron at Fort Mills until September 1919; with the 3d Aero Squadron at Camp Stotsenburg until September 1920, and as executive officer of the Department Air Office, Department and Assistant Department Air Officer, Philippine Department, and in command of the Philippine Air Depot at Manila until September 1921.
Meanwhile, on July 1, 1920, he was commissioned into the Regular Army as a captain in the Air Service and returned to the United States in January 1922, for duty at Mitchel Field, New York, where he commanded the 5th Aero Squadron and later was post adjutant.
In June 1924, Eaker was named executive assistant in the Office of Air Service at Washington, D.C., and from December 21, 1926, to May 2, 1927, he served as a pilot of one of the Loening OA-1 float planes of the Pan American Goodwill Flight that made a 22,000 mile (35,200 km) trip around South America and, with the others, was awarded the Mackay Trophy. He then became executive officer in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of War at Washington, D.C.
In September 1926, he was named operations and line maintenance officer at Bolling Field, Washington, D.C. While on that duty, he participated as chief pilot on the endurance flight of the Army plane, Question Mark, from 1 to January 7, 1929, establishing a new world flight endurance record. For this achievement the entire crew of five, including Eaker and mission commander Major Carl Spaatz, were awarded the DFC. In 1930, he made the first transcontinental flight entirely with instruments.
In October 1934, Eaker was ordered to duty at March Field, Calif., where he commanded the 34th Pursuit Squadron and later the 17th Pursuit Squadron. In the summer of 1935, he was detached for duty with the Navy and participated aboard the aircraft carrier USS Lexington, on maneuvers in Hawaii and Guam.
Eaker entered the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field, Alabama, in August 1935, and upon graduation the following June entered the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, from which he graduated in June 1937. During his time at Ft Leavenworth from June 3–7, 1936, Eaker made the first blind (instruments only) transcontinental flight from New York to Los Angeles. He then became assistant chief of the Information Division in the Office of the Chief of Air Corps (OCAC) at Washington, D.C., during which he helped plan and publicize the interception of the Italian liner Rex at sea. In November 1940, Eaker was given command of the 20th Pursuit Group at Hamilton Field, California. He was promoted in 1941 to colonel while at Hamilton Field.
Promoted to brigadier general in January 1942, he was assigned to organize the VIII Bomber Command (which became the Eighth Air Force) in England and to understudy the British system of bomber operations. Then, in December 1942, he assumed command of the Eighth Air Force. In a speech he gave to the British that won him favorable publicity, he said, "We won't do much talking until we've done more fighting. After we've gone, we hope you'll be glad we came."
Much of Eaker's initial staff, including Captain Frederick W. Castle, Captain Beirne Lay, Jr., and Lieutenant Harris Hull, was composed of reserve rather than career military officers, and the group became known as "Eaker's Amateurs." Eaker's position as commander of the Eighth Air Force led to his becoming the model for the fictional Major General Pat Pritchard in the 1949 movie Twelve O'Clock High.
Throughout the war, Eaker was an advocate for daylight "precision" bombing of military and industrial targets in German-occupied territory and ultimately Germany—of striking at the enemy's ability to wage war while minimizing civilian casualties. The British considered daylight bombing too risky and wanted the Americans to join them in night raids that would target wider areas, but Eaker persuaded a skeptical Winston Churchill that the American and British approaches complemented each other in a one-page memo that concluded, "If the RAF continues night bombing and we bomb by day, we shall bomb them round the clock and the devil shall get no rest." He personally participated in the first US B-17 Flying Fortress bomber strike against German occupation forces in France, bombing Rouen on August 17, 1942.
Eaker was promoted to Major general in September 1943. However, as American bomber losses mounted from German defensive fighter aircraft attacks on deep penetration missions beyond the range of available fighter cover, Eaker may have lost some of the confidence of USAAF Commanding General Henry Arnold. To reduce losses to fighters, Eaker was a strong advocate of the Boeing YB-40 Flying Fortress, a B-17 Flying Fortress which carried additional gun turrets and gunners instead of a bomb load and was intended to act as a long-range, "gunship" escort for conventional bombers. However the YB-40 was not a success in combat. Eaker also strongly advocated work on improving the range of conventional fighters using drop tanks.
When General Dwight D. Eisenhower was named Supreme Allied Commander in December 1943, he proposed to use his existing team of subordinate commanders, including Lieutenant General Jimmy Doolittle, in key positions. Doolittle was named Eighth Air Force Commander, and Arnold concurred with the change.
Eaker was reassigned as Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Allied Air Forces, previous commander Tedder having been selected by Eisenhower to plan the air operations for the Normandy invasion. Eaker had under his command the Twelfth and Fifteenth Air Forces and the British Desert and Balkan Air Forces. He did not approve of the plan to bomb Monte Cassino in February 1944, considering it a dubious military target, but ultimately signed off the mission and gave in to pressure from ground commanders. Historians of the era now generally believe Eaker's skepticism was correct and that the ancient abbey at Monte Cassino could have been preserved without jeopardizing the allied advance through Italy.
On April 30, 1945, General Eaker was named deputy commander of the Army Air Forces and Chief of the Air Staff. He retired on August 31, 1947, and was promoted to lieutenant general in the newly established United States Air Force on the retired list June 29, 1948.
Almost 40 years after his retirement, Congress passed special legislation awarding four-star status in the U.S. Air Force to General Eaker, prompted by retired Air Force Reserve major general and Senator Barry Goldwater (R-AZ) and endorsed by President Ronald Reagan. On April 26, 1985, Chief of Staff General Charles A. Gabriel and Ruth Eaker, the general's wife, pinned on his fourth star.
|No pin insignia at the time||Second lieutenant||Officers' Reserve Corps||15 August 1917|
|No pin insignia at the time||Second lieutenant||Regular Army||26 October (effective 15 November) 1917|
|First lieutenant||Regular Army||17 June 1918 (temporary)|
6 September 1919 (permanent)
|Captain||Regular Army (United States Army Air Service)||1 July 1920|
|Major||Regular Army (United States Army Air Corps)||20 April-26 July 1935 (temporary)|
1 August 1935 (permanent)
|Lieutenant colonel||Regular Army (United States Army Air Corps)||1 December 1937 (temporary)|
18 August 1940 (permanent)
|Temporary Colonel||Regular Army (United States Army Air Corps)||30 August 1940 (effective 1 February 1941)|
|Colonel||Army of the United States||24 December 1941|
|Brigadier general||Army of the United States||17 January 1942|
|Major general||Army of the United States||7 September 1942|
|Brigadier general||Regular Army (United States Army Air Forces)||1 September 1943|
|Lieutenant general||Army of the United States||13 September 1943|
|Major general||Regular Army (United States Army Air Forces)||1 December 1944|
|Major general||Regular Army (United States Army Air Forces), Retired||31 August 1947|
|Lieutenant general||United States Air Force, Retired||29 June 1948|
|General||United States Air Force, Retired||26 April 1985|
The General Ira C. Eaker Award is given by the Civil Air Patrol in honor of the former Deputy Commander U.S. Army Air Forces and aviation pioneer. It is presented to cadets who have completed the requirements of the final phase of the cadet program. The award is accompanied by promotion to the grade of Cadet Lieutenant Colonel, the second highest grade in the program.
In 1993 he was inducted into the Airlift/Tanker Association Hall of Fame.
Ten days before the Democratic Party primary runoff election of the 1948 United States Senate election in Texas on Saturday, August 28, 1948, Eaker spoke in support of candidate Lyndon B. Johnson. Coke R. Stevenson's campaign attacked Eaker, and Eaker was defended by other prominent military officers and Johnson. Criticizing a prominent military leader so soon after World War II likely had a negative affect on Stevenson's turnout in the election, and in Howard County in particular (which had quartered an Army Air Force Bombadier School during World War II) returned an abnormally high net gain for Johnson as compared to his gains in other areas.:605-606 Johnson would go on to be declared the winner of the election by a small margin.
While stationed in New York in the early 1920s, Eaker studied law at Columbia University. Eaker went back to school in the early 1930s at the University of Southern California and received a degree in journalism. With Henry Arnold, Eaker co-authored This Flying Game (1936), Winged Warfare (1937), and Army Flyer (1942). Starting in 1962, he wrote a weekly column, carried by many newspapers, on military affairs.
On September 26, 1978, the U.S. Congress passed, and on October 10, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed, Public Law 95-438, which awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to General Eaker, "in recognition of his distinguished career as an aviation pioneer and Air Force leader".
Blytheville Air Force Base, Strategic Air Command (SAC) installation, was renamed Eaker Air Force Base on May 26, 1988. Eaker AFB was closed on March 6, 1992 due to Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) action. Military to civilian conversion began, and public aircraft began using the decommissioned base. The military still uses the renamed Arkansas International Airport.
The airport in Durant, Oklahoma was renamed Eaker Field to honor Eaker, a graduate of Southeastern State College in Durant. Now known as Southeastern Oklahoma State University, the student aviation majors use the airport as the home of the flight school.
was a leap year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar and a leap year starting on Monday of the Julian calendar, the 1896th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 896th year of the 2nd millennium, the 96th year of the 19th century, and the 7th year of the 1890s decade. As of the start of 1896, the Gregorian calendar was
12 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.A Welcome to Britain
A Welcome To Britain is a United States army training film created in 1943, narrated by Burgess Meredith. The film details to United States troops what is expected of them and what is appropriate behaviour when they are deployed to Britain. The film focuses particularly on the importance of respecting, or at least acknowledging, cultural differences to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings. Notable points include sections detailing the workings of British pubs, how to behave when invited to dinner and the friendly relationship between the RAF and the USAAF. The film provides examples on how to interact with British children, strangers, prostitutes and military officers.. American general John C. H. Lee, Ira C. Eaker, Beatrice Lillie and comedian Bob Hope also appear in the film.
It was produced by the Ministry of Information, through the Strand Film Company, which specialized in documentaries in the 1930s and '40s.Awards and decorations of the Civil Air Patrol
The awards and decorations of the Civil Air Patrol are "designed to recognize heroism, service, and program achievements" of members of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) of the United States of America. The CAP is the official auxiliary of the United States Air Force, and these awards are made to improve the esprit de corps of members. These awards are all worn in the form of medals or ribbons and all are considered civilian decorations. Civil Air Patrol regulations allow them to only be worn and displayed on appropriate CAP uniforms. In order to be considered for one of these awards, an individual must be a member in good standing of the Civil Air Patrol at the time of the act being recognized. There is a statute of limitations for these awards and all recommendations must be submitted within 2 years of the act being performed. It is possible for the next of kin of deceased persons to be presented awards to which a member was entitled, but which he or she did not receive. Award review boards are established at the region, wing, group, and squadron levels to consider recommendations for all awards and decorations.Blytheville Air Force Base
Blytheville Air Force Base was a United States Air Force base from 1942, until it closed in 1992. In 1988, the facility was renamed Eaker Air Force Base in honor of World War II General of the Eighth Air Force, Ira C. Eaker. It was located 3 miles (4.8 km) northwest of Blytheville, Arkansas. The facility now operates as the Arkansas Aeroplex and Arkansas International Airport.Combat America
Combat America is a 1945 documentary film produced in World War II, narrated by Clark Gable. At the time of the film's production in 1943, Gable was a 1st Lieutenant in the Eighth Air Force, part of the United States Army Air Forces. While he was stationed in England, Gable flew five combat missions from May 4–September 23, 1943, and during one of them, his boot was struck by an anti-aircraft shell, and he was nearly hit by other flak bursts. Gable's film crew included MGM cameraman Andrew J.McIntyre; 1st Lt. Howard Voss, a sound engineer; Master Sgt. Robert Boles, a cameraman; Master Sgt. Marlin Toti, another cameraman; and 1st Lt. John Mahlin, a scriptwriter."
Combat America was originally intended to be used as a recruiting film for aerial gunners; however, by the time it began production, the needs for gunners had lessened. The film was completed as an account of aerial combat over occupied Europe and as a testament to the Eighth Air Force aircrew and ground crew in England.Distinguished Flying Cross (United States)
The Distinguished Flying Cross is a military decoration awarded to any officer or enlisted member of the United States Armed Forces who distinguishes himself or herself in support of operations by "heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight, subsequent to November 11, 1918."Gerald Goodfellow
Gerald V. Goodfellow is a United States Air Force brigadier general. He is the Director of Strategic Plans, Programs and Requirements, Headquarters Air Force Global Strike Command, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. Goodfellow was commissioned in 1989 through the University of New Mexico Air Force ROTC program. Goodfellow has flown a wide variety of military aircraft, but primarily the B-1 Bomber. In 1995, Goodfellow flew a non-stop flight around the world that set two world records. For that flight Goodfellow won the Mackay Trophy for the U.S. Air Force's most meritorious flight of the year. Goodfellow has commanded at flight, squadron, group, and wing levels, and was the Commander and Commandant at the U.S. Air Force Squadron Officer College. Prior to assuming his current position, he was the Director of the Nuclear Enterprise Directorate at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.Lieutenant general (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and the United States Air Force, lieutenant general (abbreviated LTG in the Army, Lt Gen in the Air Force, and LtGen in the Marine Corps) is a three-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-9. Lieutenant general ranks above major general and below general. Lieutenant general is equivalent to the rank of vice admiral in the other uniformed services.List of Légion d'honneur recipients by name (E)
The following is a list of some notable Légion d'honneur recipients by name. The Légion d'honneur is the highest order of France. A complete, chronological list of the members of the Legion of Honour nominated from the very first ceremony in 1803 to now does not exist. The number is estimated at one million including about 3,000 Grand Cross.Maxwell Air Force Base
Maxwell Air Force Base (IATA: MXF, ICAO: KMXF, FAA LID: MXF), officially known as Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, is a United States Air Force (USAF) installation under the Air Education and Training Command (AETC). The installation is located in Montgomery, Alabama, US. Occupying the site of the first Wright Flying School, it was named in honor of Second Lieutenant William C. Maxwell, a native of Atmore, Alabama.
The base is the headquarters of Air University (AU), a major component of Air Education and Training Command (AETC), and is the U.S. Air Force's center for Joint Professional Military Education (PME). The host wing for Maxwell-Gunter is the 42d Air Base Wing (42 ABW).
The Air Force Reserve Command's 908th Airlift Wing (908 AW) is a tenant unit and the only operational flying unit at Maxwell. The 908 AW and its subordinate 357th Airlift Squadron (357 AS) operates eight C-130H Hercules aircraft for theater airlift in support of combatant commanders worldwide. As an AFRC airlift unit, the 908th is operationally gained by the Air Mobility Command (AMC).
Gunter Annex is a separate installation under the 42 ABW. Originally known as Gunter Field, it later became known as Gunter Air Force Station (Gunter AFS) when its runways were closed and its operational flying activity eliminated. It was later renamed Gunter Air Force Base (Gunter AFB) during the 1980s. As a hedge against future Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) closure actions, Gunter AFB was consolidated under Maxwell AFB in March 1992 to create a combined installation known as Maxwell/Gunter AFB.
Maxwell AFB is also the site of Federal Prison Camp, Montgomery, a minimum security facility for male inmates.Operation Cockade
Operation Cockade was a series of deception operations designed to alleviate German pressure on Allied operations in Sicily and on the Soviets on the Eastern Front by feinting various attacks into Western Europe during World War II. The Allies hoped to use Cockade to force the Luftwaffe into a massive air battle with the Royal Air Force and U.S. Eighth Air Force that would give the Allies air superiority over Western Europe. Cockade involved three deception operations: Operation Starkey, Operation Wadham, and Operation Tindall. Operation Starkey was set to occur in early September, followed by Operation Tindall in mid September, and lastly Operation Wadham in late September 1943.Order of Aeronautical Merit (Brazil)
The Order of Aeronautical Merit (Portuguese: Ordem do Mérito Aeronáutico) is an award of the Brazilian Air Force, established on 1 November 1943 by President Getúlio Vargas. The order is presented in five grades and recognizes distinguished service and exceptional contributions to the Brazilian Air Force.Order of the Southern Cross
The National Order of the Southern Cross (Portuguese: Ordem Nacional do Cruzeiro do Sul) is a Brazilian order of chivalry founded by Emperor Pedro I on 1 December 1822. This order was intended to commemorate the independence of Brazil and the coronation of Pedro I. The name derives from the geographical position of the country, under the constellation of the Southern Cross and also in memory of the name – Terra de Santa Cruz (Land of the Holy Cross) – given to Brazil at the time of European discovery.Pontotoc, Texas
Pontotoc is an unincorporated community on Pontotoc Creek, in northeastern Mason County, Texas, United States. The community is located at the junction of State Highway 71 and Ranch to Market Road 501.Portal of the Folded Wings Shrine to Aviation
The Portal of the Folded Wings Shrine to Aviation is in Los Angeles, California. The shrine is a 75-foot-tall (23 m) structure of marble, mosaic, and sculpted figures and is the burial site for fifteen pioneers of aviation. It was built in 1924 as the entrance to Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery. Aviation enthusiast James Gillette was impressed by the rotunda's close proximity to the airport and Lockheed Aircraft Company. He conceived a plan to use the structure as a shrine to aviation and worked to that end for two decades. It was dedicated in 1953 by aviation enthusiasts who wanted a final resting place for pilots, mechanics, and other pioneers of flight.
Dedicated to the honored dead of American aviation on the 50th anniversary of powered flight, December 17, 1953, by Lieutenant General Ira C. Eaker USAF (retired). Beneath the memorial tablets in this sacred portal rest the cremated remains of famous flyers who contributed so much to the history and development of aviation. The bronze plaques upon the marble walls memorialize beloved Americans who devoted their lives to the advancement of the air age. Administered under the auspices of the Brookins–Lahm–Wright Aeronautical Foundation, this shrine stands as a lasting tribute.
On May 27, 1996, it was rededicated by Dr. Tom Crouch, Chairman of the Aeronautics Department at the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution.Robert E. Wheeler
Robert E. Wheeler is a Major General in the United States Air Force.Society of Experimental Test Pilots
The Society of Experimental Test Pilots is an international organization that seeks to promote air safety and contributes to aeronautical advancement by promoting sound aeronautical design and development; interchanging ideas, thoughts and suggestions of the members, assisting in the professional development of experimental pilots, and providing scholarships and aid to members and the families of deceased members.The Destruction of Dresden
The Destruction of Dresden is a 1963 book by David Irving, in which the author describes the February 1945 Allied bombing of Dresden in World War II. The book became an international best-seller during the 1960s debate about the morality of the World War II area bombing of the civilian population of Nazi Germany. The book is no longer considered to be an authoritative or reliable account of the Allied bombing and destruction of Dresden during February 1945.Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy
The Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy was established by the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) in 1948 after a trust fund was created in 1936 by Godfrey Lowell Cabot of Boston, a former president of the NAA. It is awarded to a living American for "significant public service of enduring value to aviation in the United States." The presentation of the award is made annually at the Aero Club of Washington, as close as possible to December 17 each year, the day on which, in 1903, the Wright brothers made the first flight in an airplane. The inaugural recipient of the trophy was William F. Durand, "a pioneer in aeronautics, naval propulsion and engineering research methods". Until 2010, winners of the award received a trophy depicting the Wright brothers' Wright Flyer aircraft. From 2010 onwards, a redesigned trophy featuring a silver obelisk and bronze inscription has been awarded.The trophy has only been awarded to women on three occasions. Olive Ann Beech, founding partner and president of Beech Aircraft, received the award in 1980; Marion Blakey, former administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration and chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board was honored in 2013, and the 2016 recipient was Colleen Barrett, President Emeritus of Southwest Airlines. The most recent winner of the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy, in 2018, was Lloyd W. Newton.