Thomas Dresser White
General, United States Air Force
of the United States Air Force
GENERAL THOMAS DRESSER WHITE
General Thomas Dresser White was the fourth chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
The General was born in Walker, Minnesota, in 1901. Upon graduation from the U.S. Military Academy July 2, 1920, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry and immediately promoted to First Lieutenant.
Entering the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia, General White graduated in July 1921, and was assigned duty with the 14th Infantry at Fort Davis, Panama Canal Zone.
In September 1924, he entered Primary Flying School at Brooks Field, Texas. He graduated from Advanced Flying School at Kelly Field, Texas, in September 1925, and was assigned duty with the 99th Observation Squadron at Bolling Field, Washington, D.C.
In June 1927, General White was assigned to duty as a student of the Chinese language in Peking, China. Four years later, he returned to the United States for duty at Headquarters Air Corps, Washington, D.C.
General White was named assistant military attache for air to Russia in February 1934. A year later, he was appointed assistant military attache for air to Italy and Greece, with station at Rome, Italy.
General White graduated from the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field, Ala., in May 1938. He then entered Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Upon completion of this training, he was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Air Corps, Washington, D.C.
In April 1940, General White became military attache to Brazil and the following August was named chief of the U.S. Military Air Mission to Brazil.
Returning to the United States in March 1942, General White was appointed assistant chief of staff for operations of the Third Air Force at Tampa, Florida, and subsequently named chief of staff.
Reassigned to Air Force Headquarters in January 1944, he became assistant chief of air staff for intelligence.
Proceeding to the Southwest Pacific in September 1944, General White assumed duty as the deputy commander of the 13th Air Force, taking part in the New Guinea, Southern Philippines and Borneo campaigns. The following June, he assumed command of the Seventh Air Force in the Marianas and immediately moved with it to Okinawa. In January 1946, he returned with the Seventh Air Force to Hawaii. That October, he was appointed chief of staff of the Pacific Air Command in Tokyo, Japan. One year later, in October 1947, General White took command of the Fifth Air Force in Japan.
Transferred to the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force in October 1948, General White became director of the Legislation and Liaison. He was appointed, in May 1950, Air Force Member of the Joint Strategic Survey Committee in the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was assigned as director of Plans, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, in February 1951, and in July 1951, assumed duties of deputy chief of staff of operations for the Air Force.
General White was promoted to the rank of General June 30, 1953, and designated Vice Chief of Staff at that time, becoming Chief of Staff for the U.S. Air Force July 1, 1957. He retired June 30, 1961.
His decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster and Air Medal with oak leaf cluster.
General White is buried in Section 30 of Arlington National Cemetery. His wife, Constance Rowe White (1903-1980) is buried with him.
WHITE, THOMAS D
Posted: 7 September 2003 Updated: 2 March 2006 Updated: 19 August 2009
Photo By M. R. Patterson, 28 June 2003