Top row, from left: Col. Clinton D. "Casey" Vincent, Lt. Col. John R. Alison (commander of the 75th Fighter Squadron), and Col. Bruce K. Holloway (commander of the 23rd Fighter Group, and later commander of the Strategic Air Command). Foreground, from left: Lt. Col. Albert T. "Ajax" Baumler and Lt. Col. Grattan "Grant" Mahony (commander of the 76th Fighter Squadron) in China (1943). (U.S. Air Force photo)
Clinton D. Vincent was the second youngest general officer in Air Force history, earning his star at the age of 29. After only seven years of service in the armed forces, he rose to the temporary rank of brigadier general.
Vincent spent the first year of World War II with the Karachi American Air Base Command in India. He moved to China in November 1942 to join the China Air Task Force. By the end of August 1943, Vincent was a P-40 ace, with six aerial victories to his credit. From December 1943 to December 1944, he commanded the 68th Composite Wing in China. He was promoted to brigadier general in June 1944.
In late 1944, Vincent left China to command the 30th Flying Training Wing at Turner Field, Georgia, and other units. He reverted to his permanent rank of captain in 1946 and became an instructor at the Air War College.
From 1949 to 1955, Vincent rose through the ranks in a variety of command positions. He was temporarily promoted to brigadier general again in 1951. On July 5, 1955, after his first day of duty as the deputy chief of staff for operations of the Continental Air Defense Command, he died of a heart attack. He was only 40 years old.
In 1943, then-Col. Vincent met cartoonist Milton Caniff, famous for his Terry and the Pirates adventure strip. Caniff created a character based upon Vincent, named "Vince Casey," who appeared in his Terry and the Pirates throughout WWII. Vincent also appeared in Caniff's postwar Steve Canyon comic strip as "General Shanty Town," a hard-working, peacetime general. In 1956 Caniff paid tribute to Vincent by portraying the death of "General Town" from overwork in the Steve Canyon strip.