June 06, 2011

Maj. Gen. John R. “Johnny” Alison, USAF (Ret.), a highly decorated World War II combat ace, Korean War veteran, and lifetime airpower advocate, dies at age 98. Born in Micanopy, Fla., on Nov. 21, 1912, Alison entered the Army Air Corps after graduating from the University of Florida in 1936. He served on active duty and later in the Air Force Reserve until his retirement in 1972. Alison was an outstanding pilot, whose World War II achievements include six official kills while flying with and later commanding the 75th Fighter Squadron, part of the famed “Flying Tigers,” in the China-Burma-India theater. He later became co-commander, with Col. Phil Cochran, of the newly formed 1st Air Commando Group that fought behind Japanese lines in Burma, flying one of the first gliders in. He is credited with being the father of Air Force special operations. After the war, he served as the assistant secretary of commerce for aeronautics in the Truman Administration before returning to service during the Korean War. He served as the Air Force Association’s President from 1954 to 1955 and as AFA’s Chairman of the Board from 1955 to 1956. He remained engaged in AFA as director emeritus thereafter. In 2005, he was enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame. He was a founding Member of the Air Force Memorial Foundation.