General George C. Kenney
Commanding Officer (C. O.) 5th Air Force (5th AF)
George Churchill Kenney was born August 6, 1889 in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada to parents Joseph Atwood Kenney and Anne Louise Kenney (née Churchill) while his parents were on vacation. He was the eldest of four children and grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts. He graduated from Brookline High School class of 1907 and that same year entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) studying civil engineering. When his father left the family, Kenney left MIT and took various jobs before becoming a surveyor for the Quebec Saguenay Railroad.
During January 1941 promoted to the rank of Brigadier General and became the Commanding Officer (C.O.) of the 4th Air Force (4th AF) operating in the west coast of the United States.
On February 26, 1942 promoted to the rank of Major General. Sent overseas to Australia arriving July 28, 1942 he became the commanding general of Allied Air Forces in the Southwest Pacific as the highest ranking officer under General Douglas MacArthur.
On September 3, 1942 Kenney becomes Commanding Officer (C.O.) of the 5th Air Force (5th AF) Headquarters in Brisbane and retains command of the Allied Air
Force. As the leader of the 5th Air Force, he fought an innovative and creative war against the Japanese using available aircraft and weapons effectively.
On October 3, 1942 Blamey, General Douglas MacArthur, General Herring and Kenney plus Minister for the Army Mr. F. M. Forde visit the Australian Army at Owers' Corner at the start of the Kokoda Trail.
Officers under his command created strafer variants of aircraft adding forward firing extra machine guns to the nose of A-20 Havocs and B-25 Mitchells. The 5th Air Force used ordnance including the daisy cutter (wire wrapped bombs) and parachute-retarded fragmentation bomb (parafrag bomb) that were suited for destroying parked aircraft and inflicting damage in jungle areas. Officers under his command pioneered "skip bombing" flying bombers at low level to skip bombs off the surface of the sea to hit an enemy ship instead of ineffective high altitude bombing runs the ship could easily avoid.
On October 15, 1942 promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General and was present at an award ceremony at Mareeba Airfield with Brigadier General Kenneth N. Walker (C. O. 5th Bomber Command) to award the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) to members of the 19th Bombardment Group (19th BG). The ceremony was documented by LIFE Magazine photographer George Strock.
During late 1942, assigned B-17E "Sally" 41-633 for use as his personal transport in the South West Pacific Area (SWPA).
On September 5, 1943 Kenney was a passengers aboard B-17F "Cap'n & The Kids / Miss Em" 41-24353 to observe the U.S. Army 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment (503rd PIR) paratrooper drop over Nadzab. Aboard B-17F "Talisman" 41-24537 was General Douglas MacArthur and B-17F "The Mustang" 42-24554 was General Richard Sutherland. The flight was dubbed by General Kenney as the "Brass Hat's Flight".
On June 15, 1944 the Far East Air Force (FEAF) was reformed with Kenny as the commanding General. On February 1, 1945 promoted to Major General. On March 9, 1945 promoted to the rank of General. He continued into the U.S. Air Force (USAF) until he retired on August 31, 1945.
On July 7, 1944 Kenney summoned Charles A. Lindbergh from Nadzab Airfield back to Brisbane for a reprimand for flying combat misisons and received official "observer-status" and permission to use his guns in self-defense. Reportedly, Kenney told him: "...no one back in the States will know whether you use your guns or not."
On March 9, 1945 Kenney was promoted to the rank of four star General (USAAF).
During April 1946, Kenney became the first commander of Strategic Air Command (SAC) and joined the U.S. Air Force (USAF) when it was formed on September 18, 1947. In October 1948 became commander of the at Air University at Maxwell AFB. On August 31, 1951 he was promoted to the rank of four star General (USAF) and retired in September.
Kenney retired to Bay Harbor Islands in Florida. In 1958 he appeared as the host of the TV series Flight. He passed away August 9, 1977. He is buried at Woodlawn Park North Cemetery and Mausoleum in Miami, FL at Mausoleum, Unit 9 Corridor 3 Section 13 Couch Crypt A.
In April 1949, Kenney became the sixth person to receive the General William E. Mitchell Memorial Award.
USAF - General George Churchill Kenney
General Kenney Reports: A Personal History of the Pacific War (1949)
The Saga of Pappy Gunn (1959)
Dick Bong: Ace of Aces (1960)
Air Force Magazine "The Genius of George Kenney" (2002)
FindAGrave - GEN George Churchill Kenney (photo, grave photo)
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