Biography

O'Donnell, Emmett E. ("Rosie"), Jr.,
[MGen. CG FEAFBC]

USMA 1928

   biography   biography

O'Donnell--General Emmett O'Donnell Bomber Command FEAF

 

"Rosie" O'Donnell, leader of the first B-29 attack against Tokyo and postwar Pacific Air Forces commander, is one of the most colorful Air Force generals. Emmett O'Donnell Jr. was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1906. He graduated from Manual Training High School in 1924 and from the U.S. Military Academy four years later. Excelling in football, he played substitute halfback for All-Americans Harry Wilson and Red Cagle at West Point.

Appointed a second lieutenant of Infantry, he received flying training at Brooks and Kelly fields, Texas, earning his wings by March 1930. His initial flying assignment in the Air Corps was a six and one half year tour with the First Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field, Mich. During this time O'Donnell also served as an airmail pilot with the Army Air Corps mail operations at Cleveland, Ohio, in the spring of 1934.

O'Donnell became a captain April 20, 1935. In December 1936 Captain O'Donnell was assigned to the 18th Reconnaissance Group at Mitchel Field, N.Y., until 1940. While with this organization, he attended the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field, Ala., graduating in August 1939. He was also assistant football coach at West Point from 1934 to 1938. Transferred to Hawaii in February 1940, he was assigned as a squadron commander of the 11th Bombardment Group.

O'Donnell became a major in January 1941. As Japanese designs in Southeast Asia became apparent in the fall of 1941, the Army Air Force sent air reinforcements to General Douglas MacArthur. Major O'Donnell and his 14th Bombardment Squadron set out from Hickam Field to the Philippines via Midway, Wake, New Guinea and Australia Sept. 5. A week later all nine of the B-17s landed at Clark Field, Manila. This was the first mass flight of land planes to cross the western Pacific from Hawaii to the Philippines.

After Pearl Harbor, O'Donnell's group fought in the air and later with the Infantry until they were forced to withdraw to Bataan and then to Mindanao. Major O'Donnell and some of his group later moved to Java. Before the war in the Pacific was two days old, O'Donnell had earned the Distinguished Flying Cross. He left Clark Field during an enemy attack and flew to Vigan where he attacked a heavy cruiser and its destroyer escort. Due to faulty bomb releases he made five runs over the target, evading antiaircraft fire and enemy fighters.

From January 1942 when he arrived in Java until the beginning of March, when the Japanese conquered the island, he served as operations officer of the Far East Air Force. He then evacuated to India, where he became assistant chief of staff for operations of the newly organized Tenth Air Force. O'Donnell became a lieutenant colonel in January 1942 and a colonel the following March.

He returned home in 1943 as chief of General Arnold's Advisory Council, a post he retained until he was appointed commanding general of the 73d Bomb Wing at Smoky Hill Army Air Field, Salina, Kan., a year later. O'Donnell became a brigadier general in February 1944. He trained the B-29 Superfort Wing for six months at Smoky Hill and then led it to Saipan. The B-29s began the campaign against the Japanese homeland on Nov. 24, 1944 when O'Donnell led 111 B-29s against industrial targets in Tokyo. Only 88 of the planes were able to bomb, and results were poor, partly because of bad weather. This was the first attack on Tokyo since the Doolittle Raid in April 1942.

After the war O'Donnell was assigned to the Air Technical Service Command (later Air Materiel Command) Headquarters at Wright Field where he served as deputy chief of the Engineering Division. He remained there until August 1946 when he was made director of information of the Army Air Force. O'Donnell was promoted to major general in February 1947.

In September 1947, after the U.S. Air Force headquarters was established, he was designated deputy director of public relations. In January 1948 he was appointed steering and coordinating member of the military representation on the Permanent Joint Board on Defense, Canada-United States; the Canada-United States Military Cooperation Committee; the Joint Mexico-United States Defense Commission; and the Joint Brazil-United States Defense Commission.

O'Donnell became commanding general of the 15th Air Force at Colorado Springs, Colo., in October 1948, and in November 1949 moved with that headquarters to March Air Force Base, Calif.

Korea

Early in 1950, as a result of United Nations action against communist forces in Korea, General O'Donnell took a nucleus of his 15th Air Force staff for the Fear East to Japan. Here he would organize and command the Far East Bomber Command with headquarters in Japan. His first B-29 units to arrive in Japan carried out a maximum bombing effort in Korea 36 hours after the first B-29 had arrived in Japan.

As North Korean troops moved steadily down Korea, outnumbered American troops retreated south. General Walton Walker decided to build a perimeter defense to shelter Pusan, the key port. As the Eighth Army built up its defenses, Communist troops massed across the Naktong River for a thrust at Taegu, less than 100 miles north of Pusan. To lessen this threat, General O'Donnell led 98 B-29s on a bombing mission near Waegwan. During this period of temporary duty he retained command of the 15th Air Force with its headquarters at March Air Force Base.

August 8, 1950

When the 98th and 307th Groups arrived in the theater, General Stratemeyer on 8 August ordered O'Donnell to put the strategic offensive into effect, using the maximum effort of two B-29 groups against industrial targets every third day.#14

#14 Daily diary D/Opns. FEAF, 8 Aug. 1950; msg. AX-4143; CG FEAF to CG FEAF BomCom, 12 Aug. 1950.

 This allocation of effort continued in force until 20 August, when General Weyland, arguing the fact that several of the newly designated Joint Chiefs of Staff strategic objectives were actually interdiction targets, persuaded the FEC Target Selection Committee to commit three medium-bomber groups to strategic bombing.#15

On 8 August General Stratemeyer ordered O'Donnell to execute industrial attacks with a maximum effort of two groups every third day while the normal effort of three groups would remain committed to daily interdiction attacks. General O'Donnell was authorized to select the industrial targets for attack.

While the prohibition on incendiaries necessitated additional sorties, General O'Donnell privately hoped to improve on the seven missions per B-29 per month which MacArthur had said would satisfy him.

 

O'Donnell returned to the United States in January 1951. Two years later General O'Donnell was appointed deputy chief of personnel at Air Force headquarters in Washington and promoted to lieutenant general, remaining in this position until August 1959. That month he was appointed commander in chief, Pacific Air Forces, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii and promoted to full general.

He retired from the service July 31, 1963. Two months later, President Kennedy awarded O'Donnell the Distinguished Service Medal for long and distinguished service to his country.

His other awards include the


Retired July 31, 1963, Died Jan. 1, 1972


Emmett O'Donnell, Jr.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

biography

General Emmett "Rosie" O'Donnell, Jr. in a 1962 portrait
Nickname Rosie
Born September 15, 1906
Brooklyn, New York
Died December 26, 1971(1971-12-26) (aged 65)
Washington, D.C.[1]
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Air Force
Years of service 1928 - 1963


Rank General
Commands held Pacific Air Forces
15th Air Force
Battles/wars World War II


Korean War
Awards Distinguished Service Cross
Silver Star
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross (4)
Air Medal (2)


General Emmett E. "Rosie"[2] O'Donnell, Jr. (September 15, 1906 – December 26, 1971) was a United States Air Force four star general who served as Commander in Chief, Pacific Air Forces (CINCPACAF) from 1959 to 1963. He also led the first B-29 Superfortress attack against Tokyo during World War II.



Biography

Early career

O'Donnell was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1906. He graduated from Manual Training High School in 1924 where he was a member of Omega Gamma Delta fraternity and from the United States Military Academy four years later. Excelling in football, he played substitute halfback for All-Americans Harry Wilson and Chris "Red" Cagle at West Point.

Appointed a second lieutenant of Infantry, he received flying training at Brooks Field and Kelly Field, Texas, earning his wings by March 1930. His initial flying assignment in the Air Corps was a six and one half year tour with the 1st Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field, Michigan. During this time O'Donnell also served as an airmail pilot with the Army Air Corps mail operations at Cleveland, Ohio, in the spring of 1934.


O'Donnell became a captain April 20, 1935. In December 1936 Captain O'Donnell was assigned to the 18th Reconnaissance Group at Mitchel Field, New York, until 1940. While with this organization, he attended the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field, Alabama, graduating in August 1939. He was also assistant football coach at West Point from 1934 to 1938. Transferred to Hawaii in February 1940, he was assigned as a squadron commander of the 11th Bombardment Group.

O'Donnell became a major in January 1941. As Japanese designs in Southeast Asia became apparent in the fall of 1941, the Army Air Force sent air reinforcements to General Douglas MacArthur. Major O'Donnell and his 14th Bombardment Squadron set out from Hickam Field to the Philippines via Midway, Wake, New Guinea and Australia September 5. A week later all nine of the B-17s landed at Clark Field, Manila. This was the first mass flight of land planes to cross the western Pacific from Hawaii to the Philippines.

World War II

After Pearl Harbor, O'Donnell's group fought in the air and later with the Infantry until they were forced to withdraw to Bataan and then to Mindanao. Major O'Donnell and some of his group later moved to Java. Before the war in the Pacific was two days old, O'Donnell had earned the Distinguished Flying Cross. He left Clark Field during an enemy attack and flew to Vigan where he attacked a heavy cruiser and its destroyer escort. Due to faulty bomb releases he made five runs over the target, evading anti-aircraft fire and enemy fighters.

From January 1942 when he arrived in Java until the beginning of March, when the Japanese conquered the island, he served as operations officer of the Far East Air Force. He then evacuated to India, where he became assistant chief of staff for operations of the newly organized Tenth Air Force. O'Donnell became a lieutenant colonel in January 1942 and a colonel the following March.


He returned home in 1943 as chief of General Arnold's Advisory Council, a post he retained until he was appointed commanding general of the 73d Bomb Wing at Smoky Hill Army Airfield in Salina, Kansas a year later. O'Donnell became a brigadier general in February 1944. He trained the B-29 Superfortress Wing for six months at Smoky Hill and then led it to Saipan. The B-29s began the campaign against the Japanese homeland on November 24, 1944 when O'Donnell led 111 B-29s against industrial targets in Tokyo. Only 88 of the planes were able to bomb, and results were poor, partly because of bad weather. This was the first attack on Tokyo since the Doolittle Raid in April 1942.


Post-war

biography

1959 portrait

O'Donnell piloted one of three specially modified B-29s flying from Japan to the U.S. in September 1945, in the process breaking several aviation records at that date, including the greatest USAAF takeoff weight, the longest USAAF nonstop flight, and the first ever nonstop Japan–U.S. flight. The aircraft, all piloted by generals, used up too much fuel fighting unexpected headwinds, and they could not fly to Washington, D.C., the original goal.[3] They decided to land at Chicago and refuel, then continue to Washington, where they all received Distinguished Flying Crosses.[4]
After the war O'Donnell was assigned to the Air Technical Service Command (later Air Materiel Command) Headquarters at Wright Field where he served as deputy chief of the Engineering Division. He remained there until August 1946 when he was made director of information of the Army Air Force. O'Donnell was promoted to major general in February 1947.

In September 1947, after the U.S. Air Force headquarters was established, he was designated deputy director of public relations. In January 1948 he was appointed steering and coordinating member of the military representation on the Permanent Joint Board on Defense, Canada-United States; the Canada-United States Military Cooperation Committee; the Joint Mexico-United States Defense Commission; and the Joint Brazil-United States Defense Commission.


Korean War

O'Donnell became commanding general of the 15th Air Force at Colorado Springs, Colorado, in October 1948, and in November 1949 moved with that headquarters to March Air Force Base, California. Early in 1950, as a result of United Nations action against communist forces in Korea, General O'Donnell took a nucleus of his 15th Air Force staff for the Far East to Japan. Here he would organize and command the Far East Bomber Command with headquarters in Japan. His first B-29 units to arrive in Japan carried out a maximum bombing effort in Korea 36 hours after the first B-29 had arrived in Japan.

As North Korean troops moved steadily down Korea, outnumbered American troops retreated south. General Walton Walker decided to build a perimeter defense to shelter Pusan, the key port. As the Eighth United States Army built up its defenses, Communist troops massed across the Naktong River for a thrust at Taegu, less than 100 miles north of Pusan. To lessen this threat, O'Donnell led 98 B-29s on a bombing mission near Waegwan. During this period of temporary duty he retained command of the 15th Air Force with its headquarters at March Air Force Base.

Retirement and death


O'Donnell returned to the United States in January 1951. Two years later he was appointed deputy chief of personnel at Air Force headquarters in Washington and promoted to lieutenant general, remaining in this position until August 1959. That month he was appointed commander in chief, Pacific Air Forces, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii and promoted to full general. He retired from the Air Force on July 31, 1963. Two months later, President Kennedy awarded O'Donnell the Distinguished Service Cross for long and distinguished service to his country.
O'Donnell died on December 26, 1971 and was buried in the United States Air Force Academy Cemetery.[5]

Awards


His other awards include the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with three oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with oak leaf cluster, Presidential Unit Citation with oak leaf cluster, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, National Defense Service Medal, World War II Victory Medal, American Defense Ribbon with bronze star, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Ribbon with six stars, American Campaign Medal, Philippine Defense Ribbon with star, Philippine Independence Ribbon, Korean Military Service Medal with silver star (Taeguk), Inter-American Defense Board Medal, United Nations Service Medal, Honorary Companion of the Military Division of the Most Honorable Order of the Bath.

biographybiography biography


Citation:

The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Emmett O'Donnell, Jr., Major General, U.S. Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving as Commanding General, Bomber Command, Far East Air Forces (Provisional), in action against enemy forces in the Republic of Korea from 13 July to 16 September 1950, during three important combat missions over enemy targets.

On July 13, 1950, General O'Donnell led and directed the strike of fifty-two aircraft which dropped four hundred and forty-nine tons of explosives on railroad yards and shop installations at Wŏnsan, resulting in the complete destruction of railroad repair facilities in that area.

On August 16, 1950, he led and directed ninety-eight aircraft in a maximum effort strike during which eight hundred and forty-six tons of explosives were dropped on reported enemy materiel and troop concentrations in the Waegwan area, breaking up enemy preparations for an attack in that sector.

On September 16, 1950, General O'Donnell led and directed an eighty aircraft strike which dropped six hundred tons of bombs on targets in the Pyongyang area, causing extensive damage to oil refineries, warehouses, and a steam power plant.

During these strikes, his aircraft was subject to attack by enemy aircraft and ground antiaircraft fire, and he was in danger of death or capture by the enemy. His exemplary action in constantly risking his life while personally leading his flight, although in a position where such duty was not required of him, was a source of inspiration for other members of his command, reflecting great credit on himself and the military service.

General Headquarters Far East Command:

General Orders No. 53 (October 30, 1950)
Born: at Brooklyn, New York
Home Town: Brooklyn, New York
 

June 25, 1950

THE AIR WAR in Korea was principally a tactical air war. At first the USAF and FEAF had no choice but to stress air-ground cooperation in order to prevent the hard-pressed U. N. ground forces, committed to action piecemeal, from being driven into the sea by well trained and numerically superior North Korean armies; that the air war remained primarily tactical was dictated by political considerations designed to isolate the fighting in Korea. Although it was well recognized that the North Korean armies had been trained by other Communist nations and were being actively supplied with war materiel from Chinese and Russian sources, political decisions prevented air action north of the Yalu.

As General O'Donnell expressed it:

 "The U. N. decision to restrict our operations to areas south of the Yalu had obviously given the enemy an inordinate advantage which will be almost impossible to overcome. We are fighting distinctly `under wraps.' "

While temporary emergencies and political expedients vitiated the essential requirement that strategic air warfare must be a total and sustained effort, the Strategic Air Command (SAC) medium bomber groups detached to FEAF nevertheless managed well planned attacks against such strategic targets as were located in North Korea.

The expeditious manner in which the medium bomber groups moved across the Pacific was due largely to the fact that SAC units were directed and controlled by one major command. The consequences of diverting these highly specialized strategic units to tactical missions within the theater merely proved the wisdom of the normal concept that SAC should receive its directives - and targets - from the Joint Chiefs of Staff.