416th Bombardment Group (L)
Thomas R. Ford
Maj. Gen., Pilot
1914 - May 27, 2002
416th Bombardment Group (L) HQ
MAJOR GENERAL THOMAS R. FORD
Retired March 1, 1969. Died May 27, 2002.
Major General Thomas R. Ford is deputy chief of staff for materiel, Headquarters Aerospace Defense Command, Ent Air Force Base, Colo.
General Ford was born in 1914 in Edgetts, Mich. He received his high school education in Shelby, Mich., and graduated from Michigan State University in 1938 with a bachelor of arts degree in business administration. He received his commission as a second lieutenant in November 1939 after completion of aviation cadet training in Texas. His first assignment was with the 25th Bombardment Squadron in the Canal Zone, Panama. He was transferred in May 1951 to the 59th Bombardment Squadron in the Dutch West Indies where he served as engineering officer and later commander. He then served in the Caribbean area until 1943 and upon return to the United States joined the 416th Bombardment Group for assignment to the European Theater of Operations.
In July 1944 General Ford was assigned to the 409th Bombardment Group as commander. While with the 409th, he flew 27 combat missions in A-20 and A-26 light bombers over Normandy, the Rhineland, Northern France, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe. Returning to the United States in 1945, he became commander of Lake Charles Field, La. A year later, he went to Biggs Field, Texas, where he became deputy chief of staff for operations for Headquarters Ninth Air Force. From 1947 to 1950 General Ford was stationed in Ankara, Turkey, where he held positions as chief, Combat Training Branch; chief, Air Training Division; and Air Force member on the Joint Advisory Planning Staff, Turkey. In August 1950 General Ford returned to the United States and attended the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Va. He was next assigned as chief, Tactical Air Branch, Operational Plans Division, Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. In January 1954, ha became commander of the 461st Bombardment Wing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah and later went with the wing to Blytheville Air Force Base, Ark., where he remained in command until the wing was inactivated in 1958. He then transferred to Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., as special assistant to the commander, Ninth Air Force and in June 1958 assumed command of the 837th Air Division. He served in that position through July 1960 after which he assumed duty as deputy for operations, Ninth Air Force.
In June 1961 General Ford assumed command of the 41st Air Division at Johnson Air Station, Japan, and in June 1962 became commander of the 6100th Support Wing at Tachikawa Air Base, Honshu, Japan. He assumed duties as deputy chief of staff for materiel, Headquarters Aerospace Defense Command, in July 1964.
His decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal and the Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters, Croix de Guerre (France and Belgium). He is a command pilot.
"Goin' Home" courtesy of the U.S. Air Force Band