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Posted 12/6/2006 Printable Fact Sheet
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Gen. Nathan Twining
On Aug. 15, 1957, Gen. Nathan Twining was formally sworn in as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Cabinet Room of the White House. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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(Biography as of Feb. 10, 1958, and not intended to be complete or current.)

Gen. Nathan Farragut Twining was born in Monroe, Wis., on Oct. 11, 1897. He began his active service in June 1916 with Company H of the Third Oregon Infantry (National Guard) and served as a corporal on Mexican border duty until September of that year. In March 1917 he was recalled to active duty as a sergeant in the same organization and was promoted to first sergeant the following month. In May 1917 he received an appointment through the Oregon National Guard and entered the U.S. Military Academy. He graduated in November 1918 as a second lieutenant of Infantry and remained assigned to the Academy as an officer cadet until June 1919.

In July 1919 he joined the American Forces in Germany as a military ground observer and toured Belgian, French and Italian battlefields. He entered the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Ga., in September 1919, graduated the following June, and was assigned to the 29th Infantry Regiment at Fort Benning. In February 1922 he was assigned as aide to Brig. Gen. B.A. Poore and served with him at Camp Travis, Texas; Fort Logan, Colo.; and Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

General Twining's air training began in August 1923 when he entered Primary Flying School at Brooks Field, Texas. He graduated from Advanced Flying School at Kelly Field, Texas, in September 1924 and then returned to Brooks Field as an instructor. On Nov. 16, 1926, he was transferred to the Air Service, and the following September he was reassigned to March Field, California, where he served as a flying instructor. In February 1929 he joined the 18th Pursuit Group at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, where he served successively as adjutant, personnel officer, headquarters detachment commander and commanding officer of the 26th Attack Squadron.

General Twining was ordered to Fort Crockett, Texas, in March 1932 and was assigned to the Third Attack Group as a squadron commander; that August he joined the 90th Attack Squadron and a month later the 60th Service Squadron at the same base. He became engineering officer for the Central Zone (U.S. Army Air Mail Service) in Chicago, Ill., in February 1934 and then returned to Fort Crockett in June, where he became adjutant to the Third Attack Group. In addition to other duties, he coached the Post football team for two years at Fort Crockett. In March 1935 he became Assistant Operations Officer of the Third Wing at Barksdale Field, La. That August he entered the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field, Ala., and completed the course a year later. In August 1936 he entered the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and graduated the following June.

He was named Air Corps Technical Supervisor at San Antonio Air Depot, Duncan Field, Texas, in July 1937. In August 1940 he was reassigned to the Office of the Chief of the Air Corps in Washington, D.C., as Assistant Chief of the Inspection Division. Three months later he became Chief of the Technical Inspection Section in the same office. He joined the Operations Division in December 1941, was named Assistant Executive in the Office of Chief of Air Corps in February 1942 and three months later was appointed Director of War Organization and Movements in that office.

General Twining was sent to the South Pacific as Chief of Staff to Maj. Gen. M.F. Harmon, Commanding General of U.S. Army Forces in the South Pacific Area in July 1942 and was named Commanding General of the 13th Air Force the following January. On July 25, 1943, he was appointed Commander, Aircraft, Solomon Islands and placed in tactical control of all Army, Navy, Marine and Allied Air Forces in the South Pacific, one of the first Joint Air Commands in U.S. history. He assumed command of the 15th Air Force in Italy in November 1943, and two months later, in addition to his other duties, he became Commander of the Mediterranean Allied Strategic Air Forces. On Aug. 2, 1945, he was appointed Commander of the 20th Air Force in the Pacific; a few days later, his command dropped the first atomic bomb at Hiroshima. He retained this command until the end of the war.

In October 1945 General Twining moved to Continental Air Force Headquarters at Bolling Field, Washington, D.C.; two months later he was appointed Commanding General of the Air Materiel Command at Wright Field, Ohio. He remained there until Oct. 1, 1947, when he became Commanding General of the Alaskan Department; three weeks later he was Commander-in-Chief of the Alaskan Command at Fort Richardson.

He returned to Washington in July 1950 as Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, a position he held until Oct. 10, 1950, when he was appointed Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force. He was named Chief of Staff of the Air Force on June 30, 1953.

On March 26, 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower nominated General Twining to succeed Admiral Radford as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, effective on Aug. 15, 1957. The nomination was approved and from July 1 to Aug. 15, he served as Special Assistant to Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson. On Aug. 15, 1957, General Twining was formally sworn in as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by President Eisenhower in the Cabinet Room of the White House.

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