In response to a boy's request for an autograph. After the era of slow promotions during the inter-war years of the 1930s, Power experienced the rapid rise in rank common to many officers of the pre-war Air Corps during World War II, becoming a major in March 1941, a lieutenant colonel in January 1942, and a full colonel in June 1943 eight days after his 38th birthday. He initially performed staff duties to September 1943 at Army Air Forces Flying Training Command headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. Following his promotion to colonel he was assigned as deputy commander of the 58th Bombardment Operational Training Wing (Heavy) at Smoky Hill AAF, Salina, Kansas. After a brief tour as assistant chief of staff for operations of the Second Air Force in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Power gained combat experience flying B-24 missions in Italy while deputy commander of the 304th Bomb Wing between January and July 1944. After returning to the United States in August 1944, he was named commander of the 314th Bomb Wing (Very Heavy) and promoted to brigadier general in January 1945. Power moved his B-29s to Guam in December 1944 as part of the 21st Bomber Command. From Guam, he directed the first large-scale fire bomb raid on Tokyo, Japan, on March 9, 1945. In a command aircraft, flying back and forth over Tokyo during the attack, Power was deeply impressed by the inferno of destruction playing out thousands of feet below. He later commented, "True there is no room for emotions in war . . but the destruction I witnessed that night over Tokyo was so overwhelming that it left a tremendous and lasting impression on me." On August 1, 1945, General Carl Spaatz, then commander of the U.S. Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific, moved Power up on his staff as deputy chief of staff for operations (A-3). He served in this capacity during the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. During Operation Crossroads, the 1946 atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll, Power was assigned as assistant deputy task force commander for air on Admiral William H. P. Blandy's staff. Then came assignments as deputy assistant chief of air staff for operations in Washington and a period of air attaché duty in London, prior to his transfer to the Strategic Air Command as vice commander in 1948. During the next six years, Power assisted General Curtis E. LeMay, then commander in chief of the Strategic Air Command, in building up SAC. He was then appointed commander of the Air Research and Development Command in 1954, a position he held for three years. When General LeMay was named vice chief of staff of the Air Force in 1957, Power became commander in chief of SAC and was promoted to four-star rank. Power was the architect of the Operation Chrome Dome airborne alert program of SAC that ensured that a proportion of the nuclear-armed strategic bombers were always aloft so as to survive a first strike. One inch stain on verso of letter from tape used in mounting.
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