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Nathan Farragut Twining (// TWY-ning; October 11, 1897 – March 29, 1982) was a United States Air Force general, born in Monroe, Wisconsin. He was Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force from 1953 until 1957, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1957 to 1960. He was the first member of the Air Force to serve as Chairman. Twining was a distinguished "mustang" officer, rising from private to four-star general and appointment to the highest post in the United States Armed Forces in the course of his 45-year career.
Early life and military career
Nathan Twining came from a military background; his forebears had served in the United States Army and United States Navy since the French and Indian War. His step-mother was Frances Staver Twining, author of Bird-Watching in the West.
In 1913, Twining moved with his family from Monroe, Wisconsin, to Oswego, Oregon. He served in the Oregon National Guard from 1915 to 1917. In 1917, he received an appointment to West Point. Because the program was shortened so as to produce more officers for combat, he spent only two years at the academy and graduated just a few days too late for service in World War I.
After graduating in 1919 and serving in the infantry for three years after arriving in Europe in July 1919, he transferred to the Air Service. Over the next 15 years he flew fighter aircraft in Texas, Louisiana, and Hawaii, while also attending the Air Corps Tactical School and the Command and General Staff College. When World War II broke out in Europe he was assigned to the operations division on the Air Staff; then in 1942 he was sent to the South Pacific where he became chief of staff of the Allied air forces in that area.
In January 1943, he was promoted to major general and assumed command of the Thirteenth Air Force, and that same November he traveled across the world to take over the Fifteenth Air Force from Jimmy Doolittle. On 1 February 1943, the U.S. Navy rescued Brig. Gen. Twining, the 13th Air Force Commander, and 14 others near the New Hebrides. They had ditched their plane on the way from Guadalcanal to Espiritu Santo and spent six days in life rafts. When Germany surrendered, Arnold sent Twining back to the Pacific to command the B-29s of the Twentieth Air Force in the last push against Japan, but he was there only a short time when the atomic strikes ended the war. On 20 October 1945, Twining led three B-29s in developing a new route from Guam to Washington via India and Germany. They completed the 13,167-mile-trip in 59 hours, 30 minutes. He returned to the States where he was named commander of the Air Materiel Command, and in 1947 he took over Alaskan Air Command.
On September 23, 1947, General Twining issued a memo to Brigadier General George Schulgen of the Army Air Forces. The subject line of the memo read “AMC Opinion Concerning 'Flying Discs'”. The general tone of the memo was that unidentified objects seen in the skies by military personnel were not weather, astronomical or other phenomenon but rather objects that warranted further investigation. Twining wrote “The phenomenon reported is something real and not visionary or fictitious.”
After three years there Twining was set to retire as a lieutenant general, but when Muir Fairchild, the Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, died unexpectedly of a heart attack, Twining was elevated to full general and named his successor.
When General Hoyt Vandenberg retired in mid-1953, Twining was selected as Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force; during his tenure, massive retaliation based on airpower became the national strategy.
In 1956, Twining was chosen by Eisenhower to head a delegation of senior officers to visit Soviet Union, the first such exchange since World War II. He was shown by Zhukov at an air force base with Badger and Bison bombers flying overhead.
Dates of rank
|None||Private||Oregon National Guard||1915|
|Corporal||Oregon National Guard||19 June 1916|
|Sergeant||Oregon National Guard||25 March 1917|
|First sergeant||Oregon National Guard||1917|
|None||Cadet||United States Military Academy||14 June 1917|
|No pin insignia at the time||Second lieutenant||National Army||1 November 1918|
|First lieutenant||National Army||1 January 1920|
|Second lieutenant||Regular Army||15 December 1922|
|First lieutenant||Regular Army||20 November 1923|
|First lieutenant||Regular Army (United States Army Air Service)||16 November 1926 (transferred)|
|Captain||Regular Army (United States Army Air Corps)||20 April 1935 (temporary)|
1 August 1935 (permanent)
|Major||Regular Army (United States Army Air Corps)||1 September (accepted 7 September) 1938 (temporary)|
1 July 1940 (permanent)
|Lieutenant colonel||Army of the United States||15 September (accepted 22 September) 1941|
|Colonel||Army of the United States||1 February 1942|
|Brigadier general||Army of the United States||17 June 1942|
|Lieutenant colonel||Regular Army (United States Army Air Forces)||15 July (accepted 22 July) 1941 (temporary)|
11 December 1942 (permanent)
|Major general||Army of the United States||5 February 1943|
|Lieutenant general||Army of the United States||5 June 1945|
|Brigadier general||Regular Army (United States Army Air Forces)||18 July 1946|
|Major general||United States Air Force||19 February 1948|
|General||United States Air Force||10 October 1950 (temporary)|
30 June 1953 (permanent)
Awards and decorations
General Twining held the ratings of Command Pilot and Aircraft Observer. In addition, General Twining was awarded numerous personal decorations from the U.S. military and foreign countries.
|US Army Air Forces Command Pilot Badge|
|US Army Air Forces Aircraft Observer Badge|
- National Aviation Hall of Fame (1996)
- A city park in Monroe, Wisconsin, Twining's birthplace, and an elementary school on the Air Force base in Grand Forks, North Dakota are named after him.
- An extensive amateur astronomy observatory facility located in rural central New Mexico is named after him.
- "Birth Record Details". Wisconsin Historical Society. Retrieved 2009-07-23.
- "Cultural Resources Inventory: C.W. Twining House" (PDF). City of Lake Oswego. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-14. Retrieved 2009-05-21.
- "Gen. Nathan F. Twining". United States Air Force. 2007-08-13. Archived from the original on 2012-10-15. Retrieved 2009-05-21.
- "History Milestones: Monday, January 01, 1940 – Saturday, December 31, 1949". United States Air Force. Archived from the original on 2012-10-20.
- Campbell, Kurt M. (1989). "The Soldiers' Summit". Foreign Policy (no.75 ed.) (75): 76–91. JSTOR 1148865.
- Official Army and Air Force Register, 1948, p. 1852.
- Air Force Register, 1949–1951, p. 223.
- "Paul Tibbets, Jr". National Aviation Hall of Fame. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
- http://www.taas.org/gnto/index.php General Nathan Twining Observatory
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Nathan F. Twining.|
- "Fact Sheets : Gen. Nathan F. Twining". USAF Museum. Archived from the original on October 12, 2012. Retrieved January 19, 2008.
- "Nathan Farragut Twining, General, United States Air Force]". Arlington National Cemetery. Retrieved June 1, 2006.
- Colonel Phillip S. Meilinger, USAF. "Nathan F. Twining". American Airpower Biography: A Survey of the Field. Retrieved 2007-04-07.
Gen. Muir S. Fairchild
| Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force
Gen. Thomas D. White
Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg
| Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force
Gen. Thomas D. White
Adm. Arthur W. Radford
| Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Gen. Lyman Lemnitzer