Retired November 01, 1956; Died August 01, 1977
Commanded 449th from 30 July 1943 – 31 January 1944
Brigadier General Darr Hayes Alkire was born in Fay, Nev. He graduated from high school at Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1913, and attended the University of Utah for two years.
Appointed a flying cadet March 10, 1924, General Alkire entered Primary Flying School at Brooks Field, Texas, graduated from Advanced Flying School at Kelly Field, Texas, March 14, 1925, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Reserve. Receiving his regular commission as a second lieutenant of Air Corps June 30, 1926, he was assigned with the Sixth Pursuit Squadron at Wheeler Field, Hawaii. In April 1930 he became a flying instructor at the Flying School at March Field, Calif., and in October 1931 moved in that capacity to the Flying School at Randolph Field, Texas.
Assuming command of the 96th Bomb Squadron at Langley Field, Va., in June 1937, in January 1942 General Alkire assumed command of the Second Bomb Group there, and that November he was appointed commanding officer of the 100th Bomb Group at Kearney, Neb. Moving to Biggs Field, Texas in May 1943 he was air inspector of the 16th Bomb Wing, and the following month was moved chief of staff of the First Bomber Command there.
Going to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations that November, General Alkire assumed command of the 449th Bomb Group. Shot down and captured Jan. 31, 1944, he was released from prisoner-of-war camp in April 1945, and returned to the United States. That September he was named deputy for supply of the Sacramento Air Technical Service Command at McClellan Field, Calif. He went to Tokyo, Japan as deputy chief of staff for materiel of the Far East Air Forces in July 1948.
Four years later General Alkire was appointed commanding general of the Newark Transportation Control Depot, N.J. On Dec. 1, 1954 he assumed command of the 3101st U.S. Air Force Logistic Control Group at Brooklyn Army Base, N.Y., with additional duty as commanding general of the Newark Transportation Control Depot.
His decorations include the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with oak leaf cluster. He is rated a command pilot.
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
He was promoted to first lieutenant (permanent) Aug. 1, 1932; to captain (permanent) June 30, 1946; to major (temporary) Feb. 3, 1948; to lieutenant colonel (temporary) Jan. 1942
Retired October 14, 1963; Died August 01, 1974
Commanded 449th from 3 Feb44 -26 Oct 44
Thomas J. Gent Jr. was born in Oil City, Pa., in 1911. He entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1931 and graduated with the class of 1935.
Lieutenant Gent was awarded his pilot’s wings in 1936 and in the next seven years served tours of duty as a pilot, general’s aide, group commander, instructor pilot, base operations officer and executive officer.
He attended England’s Royal Air Force Central Flying School and was assigned to the West Coast Training Center Headquarters at Santa Ana, Calif., in 1942. The following year he was reassigned to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Air for War.
Upon completion of a transition course in the B-24 bomber, he was appointed commander of the 302nd Bombardment Group. In 1944 Colonel Gent was named commander of the 449th Bombardment Group with the Fifteenth Air Force in Europe. During the next year he flew 46 combat missions and accumulated 250 combat hours in the B-24 aircraft.
After the war, he commanded the 28th Bombardment Group at Grand Island, Neb., and Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. Returning to the United States, he was named 50th Bombardment Wing commander and continued in that position when the unit was redesignated as the 28th Bombardment Wing.
In July of 1949 he graduated from the Air War College and was assigned command of the 550th Guided Missile Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. In 1950 he was transferred to the U.S. Atomic Proving Grounds at Eniwetok where he worked on Project Greenhouse until 1951 when he was named to attend the National War College. This schooling was followed by a tour of duty at the U.S. Military Academy and assignment as vice commander of the Pacific Air Force.
General Gent was reassigned in 1956 as commander of the 314th Air Division in Korea with additional duty as deputy commander of the 5th Air Force. In 1956 and again in 1957, he served six-month tours as an Air Force member of the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission.
In 1957 General Gent was named deputy director of Manpower and Organization and deputy chief of staff for Operations at the Pentagon. He was named director of Manpower and Organization in 1959, a post he held until 1961 when he was assigned command of the 32nd Air Division at Oklahoma City, Okla.
General Gent’s decorations and medals include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, the Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, the Silver Star, the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Croix de Guerre with palm and the Guided Missile insignia.
Commanded 449th from 26 October 1944 – end of war
Jack L. Randolph was born in Warrenton, Oregon on September 9, 1909. He entered military service on 1931 and graduated with the first class from Randolph Field, San Antonio, Texas in June 1932.
Col. Randolph was stationed at Luke Field in Hawaii from July 1938 to 1941. He was Director of Training and Commanding Officer of the Flexible Gunnery School at Tyndall Field, Florida prior to overseas deployment.
Col. Randolph joined the 449th Bomb Group in June, 1944 as Deputy Group Commander. He assumed command, succeeding Col. Gent on October 16, 1944. He remained as 449th Group Commander through the conclusion of the war.
Col. Randolph’s decorations include the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal.
After retiring from the Air Force, he worked for Abex Corporation in Oxnard, California as a quality control manager.