Richard Mattern Montgomery
Lieutenant General, United States Air Force
Chief-of-Staff of the Strategic Air Command in the 1950s, he died at Heritage
Park Skilled Care Center in Bradenton, Florida of complications following
neurosurgery on August 27, 1987. He was 75-years-old and had served as
executive director of Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania,
for a year after his retirement from the Air Force in 1966. He continued
to serve on the foundation's board until his death.
Born at Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, on December
15, 1911, he graduted from West Point in 1933. He served at SAC under General
Curtis LeMay from 1952 to 1956. From 1962 until his retirmenet, he was
Vice Commander-in-Chief of the United States Air Force in Europe. He is
buried in Section 30 of Arlington National Cemetery.
Courtesy of the United States Air Force
LIEUTENANT GENERAL RICHARD M. MONTGOMERY
Lieutenant General Richard M. Montgomery was born in 1911 at Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. He attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point graduating with a lieutenant's commission in 1933. 0ne year later he completed pilot training at Kelly Field, Texas. This was the beginning of an active flying career in which the general has logged more than 10,000 hours in more than 80 types of aircraft including the KC-135 jet tanker (military counterpart of the Boeing 707), B-47 and B-52 intercontinental jet bombers.
The assignment which did most to shape his subsequent career was that of chief of staff, Headquarters, Strategic Air Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., in September 1952, a post he held until September 1956. As a principal staff assistant to then SAC commander in chief General Curtis E. LeMay, General Montgomery participated in the buildup of SAC into the most powerful military force in the world history. In 1956 he was assigned as deputy commander of the 2d Air Force (SAC).
Following this two-year tour, he became commander
of the 3d Air Division at Guam, with responsibility for SAC Forces West
of the 180th meridian. Following this assignment, General Montgomery was
ordered to Pentagon duty as assistant vice chief of staff, Headquarters
U.S. Air Force, serving for two years in this capacity under his old boss
General Curtis E. LeMay who was
Throughout his earlier years in the air corps,
General Montgomery held varied staff and command assignments. His first
wartime job was concerned with organization of the aviation cadet training
program. During this period he established a model Basic Flying School
at Independence, Kan. Later he was assigned to the Office of the Assistant
Chief, Air Staff Training, Army
A 1947 graduate of the Air War College, General Montgomery became a member of the Joint Strategic Plans and Operations Group for General Douglas MacArthur in Tokyo. The following year he joined the 51st Fighter Wing at Naha Air Force Base, Okinawa. Flying then the new F-80 jet "Shooting Star" aircraft, the 51st Jet Fighter Wing pioneered in long overwater mass jet training flights in the Far East under General Montgomery's leadership.
Returning to the U.S. in 1949 he was assigned to Biggs Air Force Base in Texas and early in 1950 became deputy commander of the 97th Bombardment Wing located there. His assignment to SAC headquarters followed that tour of duty. A veteran of more than 30 years Air Force service, General Montgomery was twice awarded the Legion of Merit while serving with the Strategic Air Command.
In August 1959 he was named assistant vice chief of staff, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. At the end of his Pentagon tour he was presented with the Distinguished Service Medal by General LeMay, U.S, Air Force chief of staff.
He was assigned as vice commander in chief,
U.S. Air Forces in Europe, at Wiesbaden, Germany, Sept. l, 1962 with promotion
to the grade of lieutenant general.
Photo By M. R. Patterson, 28 June 2003