Kepner, William Ellsworth, Lt Gen

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Last Rank
Lieutenant General
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
2-General Officer
Last AFSC Group
Special Identifiers
Primary Unit
1950-1953, Alaskan Air Command (AAC)
Service Years
1909 - 1953
Officer Collar Insignia
Lieutenant General

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by CMSgt Don Skinner-Deceased to remember Kepner, William Ellsworth, Lt Gen.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Miami, IN
Last Address
Orlando, Florida

Date of Passing
Jul 03, 1982
Location of Interment
Greenwood Cemetery - Clarksville, Tennessee
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

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 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

 William Ellsworth Kepner was born in Miami, Indiana on January 6, 1893.

At the age of 16, in 1909, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps where he served until 1913. By then, he was also a 2nd Lieutenant in the Indiana National Guard. He served with the 28th Infantry Division in 1917 on the Mexican Border, and then was commissioned into the U.S. Cavalry.

In 1920, he entered the Air Service as a Captain. He qualified as a balloon observer and dirigible pilot. Kepner attended several service schools, including locations in California, Virginia, and New Jersey. In the period 1927-1929, he participated in at least four national and international balloon races. In October, 1930, he was promoted to Major and assigned to Wright Filed, Illinois as chief of Material Division's Lighter then Air Branch.

At March Field, California and Kelly Field, Texas, Kepner learned to fly conventional aircraft in the years 1931-32. He then became the chief of Purchases Branch at Wright Field and participated in more balloon races. In 1934, he was assigned to Rapid City, South Dakota as a pilot and also as commander of the Army Air Corps Stratosphere Flight. It was during this time that he accompanied Major Ira Eaker in his record-setting instrument only experimental flight across the U.S. - a distance of 2,700 miles.

In 1937, Kepner attended the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Upon graduation, he was assigned to Langley Field, Virginia as commander of the 8th Pursuit Group. He oversaw all aviation defenses at the Fort Bragg maneuvers of 1938. In 1939, he received a promotion to Lieutenant Colonel.

The year 1940 saw Kepner assigned as the Executive Officer of the Air Defense Command, where he received a promotion to Colonel. In two years, he attained the rank of Brigadier General and became Commanding General for the 4th Fighter Command and then the 4th Air Force near San Francisco, California. He gained the rank of Major General in April, 1943, and was assigned to 8th Air Force in Europe. He served as head of 8th AF and the 2nd Bomb Division. Then in 1945, he took command of 9th Air Force. He flew 24 combat missions in both bombers and fighter aircraft.

After the war, he served as Commanding General of Tactical Air Command. In 1946, he served at Headquarters, Army Air Forces, and then was assigned to command the Air Technical Training Command at Scott AFB, Illinois. He later served as chief of the Atomic Energy Division, and after serving in the Pacific area with the Atomic Energy Division, returned and became Commanding General at the Air Proving Ground Command at Eglin AFB, Florida.

He became a Lieutenant General in 1950 and assumed command of the Alaskan Air Command. Holding six aeronautical ratings - command pilot; combat observer; balloon pilot; zeppelin pilot; semi-rigid pilot; and metal-clad airship pilot, General Kepner retired from active duty on February 28, 1953.

He passed away from an undetermined illness on July 3, 1982.  
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Aviator (Command)
Air Ship Pilot Badge

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
US Marine Corps (USMC)US Army (USA)United States Army Air ServiceUnited States Army Air Corps (USAAC)
Air Defense Command (ADC)1st Air Support Operations Group4th Air ForceVIII Fighter Command
United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)9th Air Force12th Air DivisionAir Education and Training Command
Air Proving Gound CommandAlaskan Air Command (AAC)
  1909-1913, US Marine Corps (USMC)
  1916-1920, US Army (USA)
  1920-1929, AAF MOS 770, United States Army Air Service
  1930-1938, AAF MOS 770, United States Army Air Corps (USAAC)
  1939-1940, AAF MOS 1055, Air Defense Command (ADC)
  1940-1942, AAF MOS 2140, 1st Air Support Operations Group
  1942-1943, AAF MOS 1065, 4th Air Force
  1943-1944, AAF MOS 1065, VIII Fighter Command
  1944-1945, AAF MOS 1060, II Bomber Command (2nd Bomber Command)
  1945-1945, 2, 9th Air Force
  1945-1946, 12th Air Division
  1946-1948, Air Education and Training Command
  1948-1950, Air Proving Gound Command
  1950-1953, Alaskan Air Command (AAC)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1917-1918 World War I
  1941-1945 World War II
  1943-1943 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Air Offensive, Europe Campaign (1942-44)
  1944-1944 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Rhineland Campaign (1944-45)
  1945-1945 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Central Europe Campaign (1945)
 Colleges Attended 
Command and General Staff College
  1937-1938, Command and General Staff College
 My Aircraft/Missiles
P-47 Thunderbolt (Jug)  P-51/F-51 Mustang  B-24 Liberator  
  1943-1943, P-47 Thunderbolt (Jug)
  1943-1943, P-51/F-51 Mustang
  1944-1945, B-24 Liberator
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