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Archie J. Old, Jr.

Archie J. Old, Jr.

American air force pilot
Archie J. Old, Jr.
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American air force pilot
Was Military officer Soldier Officer Air force officer Fighter pilot
From United States of America
Type Military
Gender male
Birth 24 July 1906, Farmersville, Collin County, Texas, USA
Death 24 March 1984, March Air Reserve Base, Riverside, Riverside County, USA (aged 77 years)
Star sign Leo
Distinguished Flying Cross  
Legionnaire of Legion of Merit  
Purple Heart  
Silver Star  
Peoplepill ID archie-j-old-jr
Archie J. Old, Jr.
The details (from wikipedia)


Archie J. Old Jr. (August 1, 1906 – March 24, 1984) was a lieutenant general in the United States Air Force.

Early life

Old was born in Farmersville, Texas, on August 1, 1906. Here he grew up and went to the normal childhood schools and graduated from high school. Old then studied civil engineering at Trinity University and at the University of Texas.

Old enlisted as a private in the Texas National Guard on April 16, 1930. He then attended aviation cadet training in the United States Army Air Corps. Appointed a flying cadet in February 1931, he completed his flying training at Brooks and Kelly Fields in Texas.

Old was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Reserve on February 26, 1932. He then was assigned to active duty with the 13th Attack Squadron at Fort Crockett, Texas. There he served until February 1933. Old for short periods during the following seven years was on active duty as a reserve officer.

Military career

Far left is Lt. Gen. Archie J. Old at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska
A Strategic Air Command B-52 heavy bomber is refueled by a KC-135 Stratotanker

On September 6, 1940, Old was ordered to extended active duty. At that time, he was assigned to the 52d Bombardment Squadron at MacDill Field in Florida. There he was an assistant armament and chemical officer.

In the following February Old became operations officer of the 29th Bombardment Group. The group later moved to Gowen Field, Idaho, where he followed with them. Old assumed command of the 96th Bomb Group at Walla Walla, Washington, in September 1942. In January 1943 he moved his group to the European theater. In December 1943 Old became chief of the 45th Combat Bomber Wing.

Old flew 43 combat missions against Germany. On October 14, 1943, Old led the second raid on the Schweinfurt ball-bearing factories in the Fertile Myrtle III. Of 291 B-17s that reached the target, 60 were downed by flak or enemy fighters, for a loss rate of 20 percent. On June 21, 1944, Old led the second shuttle bombing run to Russia.<Jeffrey Harwood, World War Two from Above (Minneapolis: Zenith Press, 2014)152-153.ref></Richard Overy, The Bombing War, London: Allen Lane, 2013, p. 233.> The B-17 that COl. Old was in for the first Schweinfurt mission aborted, so Col. Curtis Lemay and BGen. Robert Williams led the first Schweinfurt raid on 17 August; Col. Old and Col. Budd Peaslee led the second Schweinfurt raid on 14 October 1944. On June 21, 1944, Col. Old led the second Shuttle Mission to Russia. Old returned to the United States in July 1945. There he was assigned to the Army Air Forces headquarters at Washington, D.C. In August he was transferred to Air Transport Command headquarters at Gravelly Point, Virginia. Later in December of the same year he became commanding general of the Southwest Pacific Wing of Air Transport Command. In January 1946 he assumed additional duty as commanding general of the China Wing.

On June 1, 1948, Old became commanding general of the 530th Air Transport Wing of Military Transport Service at Fairfield-Suisun Air Force Base in California. In July of that year he was named commander of the Atlantic Division of the Military Air Transport Service.

Old became acting commander of the Eighth Air Force at Carswell Air Force Base, Texas, in March 1950. In 1951 Old got two of SAC's important overseas jobs of commanding the 7th Air Division in England and the 5th Air Division in French Morocco. In February 1953 Old was assigned as director of operations for the Strategic Air Command. On August 22, 1955, Old assumed command of the Fifteenth Air Force. Old retired September 1, 1965. He died March 24, 1984, at the base hospital at March Air Force Base.

Commands held

  • 1941 – 1942 Operations Officer, 29th Bombardment Group (Heavy), MacDill Field, Florida; from 25.06.1942, Gowen Field, Idaho; Commanding Officer of the 29th Bombardment Group (Heavy), Gowen Field, Idaho
  • 1943 – 1944 Commanding Officer of the 96th Bombardment Group (Heavy), Pocatello, Idaho; from 00.01.43 to 00.03.1943, Pyote Army Air Base, Texas; from 00.05.1943, Great Saling, England; from 12.06.1943, Snetterton Heath, England; Commanding Officer of the 45th Combat Bombardment Wing (Heavy), Snetterton Heath, England; Chief of Staff of the 45th Combat Bombardment Wing (Heavy), Snetterton Heath, England
  • 1944 – 1945 Commanding Officer, later Commanding General of the 45th Combat Bombardment Wing (Heavy), Snetterton Heath, England
  • 1945 – 1946 Commanding General of the 20th Combat Bombardment Wing (Heavy), Snetterton Heath, England; Commanding General of the Southwest Pacific Wing, Pacific Division, Air Transport Command, Manila, Philippines
  • 1946 – 1948 Commanding General of the Philippine Base Wing, Pacific Division, Air Transport Command, Manila, Philippines; Commanding General of the West Coast Wing, Pacific Division, Air Transport Command, Fairfield-Suisun Field, California; Deputy Commanding General of the Pacific Division, Air Transport Command; Commanding General of the Eastern Pacific Wing, Pacific Division, Air Transport Command
  • 1948 – 1950 Commanding General of the Atlantic Division, Air Transport Service, Westover AFB, Massachusetts
  • 1950 – 1951 Deputy Commander of the Eighth Air Force, Carswell AFB, Texas; Acting Commanding General of the Eighth Air Force, Carswell AFB, Texas; Temporary duty as Commanding General of the 7th Air Division, South Ruislip, England; Temporary duty as Commanding General of the 5th Air Division, Rabat, French Morocco
  • 1951 – 1953 Commanding General of the 5th Air Division, Rabat, French Morocco
  • 1953 – 1955 Director of Operations, Strategic Air Command, Offutt AFB, Nebraska
  • 1955 – 1965 Commander of the Fifteenth Air Force, March AFB, California
  • 1965 Retired

Other achievements

First round-the-world nonstop flight by a jet airplane.
Data plate off of a B52 that has history

Old was the leading commander of the first non-stop round-the-world jet flight. This was done with three heavy bombers in January 1957. The jet aircraft were refueled in flight by aerial tankers. Each eight engine jet carried a crew of nine. The route was via Newfoundland, French Morocco, Saudi Arabia, India, Ceylon, Philippines, and Guam. This historic project was given to Fifteenth Air Force by the Strategic Air Command headquarters. It was known as Operation Power Flite.

Old flew the lead jet airplane out of the 93d Bombardment Wing at Castle Air Force Base in California. Old took off from there on January 16, 1957. He circled the globe non-stop in a Boeing B-52 Stratofortress jet and completed the trip on January 18. He landed at March Air Force Base in California some 45 hours and 19 minutes later. The total distance was 24,325 miles. The average speed was 525 miles per hour.

Old told reporters that the flight was "merely a routine SAC mission. The planning and preparation that went into the aerial circumnavigation were identical to what was demanded every day in the Fifteenth Air Force and the Strategic Air Command."

Military awards

Foreign decorations

  • French Legion of Honor
  • Belgian Croix de guerre with Palm
  • Russian Order of Suvorov
  • French Croix de Guerre with Palm
  • British Distinguished Flying Cross
  • French Moroccan Order of Ouissam Alaouite

Television appearance

Old appeared, playing himself, in "Massacre", a 1966 episode of the television show Twelve O'Clock High.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 15 Apr 2021. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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