General Russell E. Dougherty, USAF (Ret.) 1920-2007

Air Power History, Winter 2007 | Go to article overview

General Russell E. Dougherty, USAF (Ret.) 1920-2007


Gen. Russell E. Dougherty, former commander in chief of the Strategic Air Command, died September 7, 2007, at his home in Potomac Falls, Virginia. He was eighty-seven.

Born in Glasgow, Kentucky, General Dougherty was a graduate of Western Kentucky University and the Law School of the University of Louisville. After working for the FBI and serving in the Kentucky National Guard's 123d Cavalry, he entered active military service as an aviation cadet in the U.S. Army Air Corps at the outbreak of World War II. During the war, he was an instructor pilot in the Air Training Command and later served in the Third Air Force in crew and instructor pilot duties as a B-17 pilot and on a B-29 combat crew. In 1947, he served as a unit instructor with the Air Force Reserve at Standiford Field, Louisville, Kentucky. The following year he was transferred to the Far East Air Forces. While flying with the 19th Bombardment Wing, he served as the staff judge advocate for the wing, then as assistant JAG for the Twentieth Air Force. In 1950, he was the assistant JAG for FEAF in Japan. He then returned to the United States and was assigned to the Air Materiel Command as chief of the Appeals and Litigation Division.

In December 1952, he elected to leave the JAG Department for assignment to the Strategic Air Command, where he took refresher training in the B-29 and KC-97 transition training. In 1953, he began successive assignments in SAC as operations officer the 303d Air Refueling Squadron. commander of the 303d Armament and Electronics Squadron, deputy chief of operations, 303d Bombardment Wing, and commander 358th Bomb Squadron, all at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona. As chief of the operations division, Fifteenth Air Force, he planned the 1957 round-the-world flight of Operation Power Flite. He later became deputy director of operations at headquarters, Fifteenth Air Force.

Following his graduation from the National War College in 1960, he was assigned to the deputy director for war plans in headquarters, USAF, where he helped develop Air Force positions on matters under consideration by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In April 1961, he was appointed deputy assistant director of plans for joint matters, and in February 1963 became assistant director of plans for Joint and National Security Council Matters. In 1964-1965, he was the deputy director for plans and operations (J-3), headquarters, U.S. Command in Paris. During this time he was the American planner for the successful U.S.-Belgian rescue operation at Stanleyville in the Congo. In August 1965, he returned to Washington as director, European Region, International Security Affairs, in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. …

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