Air Force senior leaders reflect on founding Air Commando


Verified SOF
Aug 18, 2007
San Antonio Texas
We just lost a great leader and aviator.

The former deputy commander of the 1st Air Commando Group died June 6.

Retired Maj. Gen. John Alison was 98 years old and is survived by his wife Penny and son David.

"General Alison was a superb Airman and an Air Force legend," said Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley. "As a highly decorated World War II combat ace, veteran of the Korean War and father of Air Force Special Operations, General Alison paved the way for hundreds of thousands of warrior Airmen who followed in his footsteps. The incredible life he led remains a source of tremendous inspiration, and we are grateful for his enduring legacy of leadership, service and patriotism. On behalf of the men and women of the U.S. Air Force, we express our deepest sympathies to General Alison's wife, Penny, and to his family and friends."

Before helping to establish the 1st ACG, General Alison was a decorated fighter pilot. He was an ace with six confirmed aerial victories during World War II and continued to mentor AFSOC's Air Commandos well beyond his time in service.

His dedication to the Air Force and Special Operations earned him several accolades. In 1994, he was inducted to the Air Commando Hall of Fame, and he was selected to speak for the Air Command and Staff College's "Gathering of Eagles" in 1985, 2004 and 2009. Also in 2005, he was enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame, and most recently was the first inductee into the U.S. Special Operations Command's Commando Hall of Honor in October 2010.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz recounted General Alison's contributions to the Air Force and nation.

"From his combat daring in World War II as a P-40 Warhawk pilot and a leader of the 1st ACG, to his extraordinary public service after the war, our nation owes General Alison a huge debt of gratitude," General Schwartz said. "While we mourn his passing, we can all take solace in the fact that his heroic service and sacrifice during the Second World War and afterward endures in today's special operations forces and the Air Force Association, which may well be his greatest legacy."

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James A. Roy noted General Alison's pioneering role in special operations.

"It is with deep sadness and respect that we mark the passing of one of the Air Force's first Air Commandos," Chief Roy said. "As a true expeditionary Airman, General Alison's legacy from World War II ace to father of Air Force Special Operations and more will endure the test of time."