Farewell to One of Our Most Spectacular Aviators

Retired Maj. Gen. John R. Alison was laid to rest Monday at Arlington National Cemetery before a gathering of airmen, family, and friends. “We have lost a great American, a dear friend, and a committed and loving family man,” said Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz during a eulogy at the Memorial Chapel at JB Myer-Henderson Hall, Va. “And our nation has lost one of her most spectacular aviators.” Following the chapel service, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley presented the American flag to Alison’s wife Penni during the graveside service at Arlington. Alison died June 6 at his home in Washington, D.C., at age 98. Born in Florida in 1912, Alison went on to become a highly decorated World War II combat ace, Korean War veteran, and lifetime airpower advocate. He became known as the father of Air Force special operations. “Our nation and Air Force, which he so deeply loved and so faithfully served, will continue to benefit from his example and to move ever forward in his loving memory,” said Schwartz. (Arlington report by SSgt. Richard A. Williams Jr.) (For more on this spectacular aviator’s life, read Alison from Air Force Magazine’s August issue.)