Lt. General John P. McConnell (Source: Web)
J.P. McConnell was born at Boonville, AR on February 7, 1908. He had a prodigious career with the Army and the U.S. Air Force. He graduated from Henderson Brown College in Arkadelphia, AR in 1927 with a degree in biology before entering the U.S. Military Academy (USMA) in 1928. Upon completion of his training there in 1932, he entered flight school and became a fighter pilot, receiving his wings in 1933.
McConnell arrived at Tucson solo in the Boeing P-12-F he identified as 32-81. Based at Shreveport, LA Barksdale Field, he was eastbound from San Diego, CA Rockwell Field. He landed Wednesday, September 26, 1934 at 12:05PM. He departed at 1:30PM and did not cite a destination (probably back to Louisiana) or purpose for his trip.
McConnell's official Air Force biography is at the link. It summarizes his training and military service assigments, as well as his decorations. Throughout WWII he advanced in rank quickly, promoted to captain in 1940, major the next year, colonel in 1942 and brigadier general (age 36) in 1944. During WWII he was assigned to the China-Burma-India Theater, responsible for training units there. A full list of his assignments, as well as a photograph of him as a lieutenant general (photo above, left), is at the link.
Below, from his USMA yearbook for 1932, is his graduation portrait and a description of him that serves as a harbinger for the successes he gained in military administration.
J.P. McConnell, USMA Yearbook, 1932 (Source: Woodling)
After WWII, in 1946, McConnell married fellow officer, Lieutenant Colonel Sally Dean of the Women’s Air Corps, who had served on the staff of Lord Louis Mountbatten during World War II. They had two sons.
From 1950-1964, McConnell served with the Strategic Air Command and U.S. Air Forces Europe Command, advancing to four-star rank and the post of Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. European Command in Paris, France. He was named Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force in 1964 and on February 1, 1965 became Air Force Chief of Staff. He retired from the Air Force on July 31, 1969. He was elected into the Arkansas Aviation Hall of Fame in 1985. Other Register pilots earning that honor are Louise McPhetridge Thaden (1980), Leighton Collins (1980), Charles M. Taylor (1980) and Earl Rowland (1986).
McConnell passed away November 21, 1986 at Bethesda, MD. His medals, photos and other souvenirs are on exhibit at the Booneville (AR) City Library. His NASM biographical file (cited, left sidebar) is surprisingly slim, containing only a cursory biographical statement.
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