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General
Nathan Farragut Twining
General Nathan F. Twining, USAF, (Ret.)
Born (1897-10-11)October 11, 1897
Died March 29, 1982(1982-03-29) (aged 84)
Place of birth Monroe, Wisconsin
Place of death Lackland Air Force Base, Texas
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Army Air Forces
 United States Air Force
Years of service 1915–1960
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg General
Commands held
Battles/wars
  • Mexican Border (1916)
  • World War II
  • Awards
  • Army Distinguished Service Medal (2)
  • Navy Distinguished Service Medal
  • Legion of Merit (2)
  • Distinguished Flying Cross
  • Bronze Star Medal
  • Air Medal (2)
  • Army Commendation Medal
  • Mexican Border Service Medal
  • World War I Victory Medal
  • Army of Occupation of Germany Medal
  • American Defense Service Medal
  • American Campaign Medal
  • Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (10)
  • European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal (7)
  • World War II Victory Medal
  • Army of Occupation Medal
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Order of the British Empire
  • French Legion of Honour, Commandeur Medal
  • French National Order of Merit, Commandeur Medal
  • French Croix de Guerre with bronze palm
  • French Legion of Honour, Chevalier Medal
  • Greek Order of the Phoenix
  • Yugoslavian Order of the Partisan Star with Golden Wreath (I rank)
  • Polish Gold Cross of Merit with Swords
  • Military Order of Italy, Knight Grand Cross
  • Order of the White Elephant, Knight Grand Cordon
  • South Korean Order of National Security Merit, Gugseon Medal
  • South Korean Order of Military Merit, Taegeuk Cordon
  • Aviation Cross (First Class), Republic of Peru
  • Medal of Merit, Republic of Egypt
  • Relations
  • Merrill B. Twining, U.S. Marine Corp General; brother
  • Nathan C. Twining, U.S. Navy Admiral; uncle
  • Nathan Farragut Twining, (/ˈtwnɪŋ/ TWY-ning; October 11, 1897 – March 29, 1982) was a United States Air Force General, born in Monroe, Wisconsin.[1] He was Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force from 1953 until 1957. As Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1957 to 1960 he was the first member of the Air Force to serve in that role.

    Military career[edit | edit source]

    Nathan Twining came from a military background; his forebears had served in the United States Army and Navy since the French and Indian War. His mother was Frances Staver Twining, author of Bird-Watching in the West.[2]

    General Twining

    In 1913, Twining moved with his family to Oswego, Oregon, serving in the Oregon National Guard from 1915 to 1917.[2] In 1917, he received an appointment to West Point. Because the program was shortened so as to produce more officers for combat, he spent only two years at the academy and graduated just a few days too late for service in World War I.[3]

    After graduating in 1918 and serving in the infantry for three years arriving in Europe in July 1919, he transferred to the Air Service. Over the next 15 years he flew fighter aircraft in Texas, Louisiana, and Hawaii, while also attending the Air Corps Tactical School and the Command and General Staff College. When World War II broke out in Europe he was assigned to the operations division on the Air Staff; then in 1942 he was sent to the South Pacific where he became chief of staff of the Allied air forces in that area.

    In January 1943, he was promoted to Major General and assumed command of the Thirteenth Air Force, and that same November he traveled across the world to take over the Fifteenth Air Force from Jimmy Doolittle. On 1 February 1943, the U.S. Navy rescued Brig. Gen. Twining, the 13th Air Force Commander, and 14 others near New Hebrides Islands. They ditched their plane on the way from Guadalcanal to Espiritu Santo and spent six days in life rafts.[4] When Germany surrendered, Arnold sent Twining back to the Pacific to command the B-29s of the Twentieth Air Force in the last push against Japan, but he was there only a short time when the atomic strikes ended the war. On 20 October 1945, Twining led three B-29s in developing a new route from Guam to Washington via India and Germany. They completed the 13,167-mile-trip in 59 hours, 30 minutes.[4] He returned to the States where he was named commander of the Air Materiel Command, and in 1947 he took over Alaskan Air Command.

    After three years there he was set to retire as a Lieutenant General, but when Muir Fairchild, the vice chief of staff, died unexpectedly of a heart attack, Twining was elevated to full General and named his successor.

    In 1947, Twining was asked to study UFO reports; he recommended that a formal study of the phenomenon take place; Project Sign was the result.

    When Hoyt Vandenberg retired in mid-1953, Twining was selected as chief; during his tenure, massive retaliation based on airpower became the national strategy.

    In 1957, President Eisenhower appointed Twining Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

    General Twining died on March 29, 1982 at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

    Awards and decorations[edit | edit source]

    General Twining held the ratings of Command Pilot and Aircraft Observer. In addition, General Twining was awarded numerous personal decorations from the U.S. military and foreign countries.

    COMMAND PILOT WINGS.png US Air Force Command Pilot Badge
    Bronze oak leaf cluster
    Width-44 white ribbon with width-10 scarlet stripes at edges, separated from the white by width-2 ultramarine blue stripes.
    Army Distinguished Service Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster
    Navy blue ribbon with central gold stripe Navy Distinguished Service Medal
    Bronze oak leaf cluster
    Width-44 crimson ribbon with a pair of width-2 white stripes on the edges
    Legion of Merit with bronze oak leaf cluster
    Distinguished Flying Cross
    Width-44 scarlet ribbon with width-4 ultramarine blue stripe at center, surrounded by width-1 white stripes. Width-1 white stripes are at the edges. Bronze Star Medal
    Bronze oak leaf cluster
    Air Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster
    Width-44 myrtle green ribbon with width-3 white stripes at the edges and five width-1 stripes down the center; the central white stripes are width-2 apart Army Commendation Medal
    Mexican Border Service Medal
    Rainbow ribbon with violet at the outer edges and going down the spectrum to red in the center World War I Victory Medal
    Army of Occupation of Germany Medal
    American Defense Service Medal
    American Campaign Medal
    Silver star
    Bronze star
    Bronze star
    Bronze star
    Bronze star
    Width-44 yellow ribbon with central width-4 Old Glory blue-white-scarlet stripe. At distance 6 from the edges are width-6 white-scarlet-white stripes.
    Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with silver and four bronze service stars
    Silver star
    Bronze star
    European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with silver and bronze service stars
    World War II Victory Medal
    Army of Occupation Medal
    Width=44 scarlet ribbon with a central width-4 golden yellow stripe, flanked by pairs of width-1 scarlet, white, Old Glory blue, and white stripes National Defense Service Medal
    Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (United Kingdom)
    French Legion of Honour, Commandeur Medal
    60px French National Order of Merit, Commandeur Medal
    French Croix de Guerre with bronze palm
    French Legion of Honour, Chevalier Medal
    Greek Order of the Phoenix
    Yugoslavian Order of the Partisan Star with Golden Wreath (I rank)
    Polish Gold Cross of Merit with Swords
    Military Order of Italy, Knight Grand Cross
    Order of the White Elephant, Knight Grand Cordon
    South Korean Order of National Security Merit, Gugseon Medal
    South Korean Order of Military Merit, Taegeuk Cordon
    Aviation Cross (First Class), Republic of Peru (not worn)
    Medal of Merit, Republic of Egypt (not worn)

    Honors[edit | edit source]

    National Aviation Hall of Fame (1996)[5]
    A city park in Monroe, Wisconsin, Twining's birthplace, and an elementary school on the Air Force base in Grand Forks, North Dakota are named after him.
    An extensive amateur astronomy observatory facility located in rural central New Mexico is named after him.[6]

    References[edit | edit source]

    External links[edit | edit source]

    Military offices
    Preceded by
    Gen. Muir S. Fairchild
    Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force
    1953 – 1957
    Succeeded by
    Gen. Thomas D. White
    Preceded by
    Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg
    Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force
    1953–1957
    Succeeded by
    Gen. Thomas D. White
    Preceded by
    Adm. Arthur W. Radford
    Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
    1957–1960
    Succeeded by
    Gen. Lyman Lemnitzer



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