461st Bombardment Wing (H)

Colonel William R. Calhoun, Jr.


Colonel William R. Calhoun, Jr., was born November 10, 1919, in Birmingham, Alabama, where he attended grade school and Howard College.  He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Howard College, majoring in English.

On April 26, 1941, he entered AviationCadet Training.  Upon completion of this training he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant and received his Pilot Wings on December 12, 1941.

Between October 1942 and December 1944, Colonel Calhoun compiled 45 combat missions in B-17 and P-47 aircraft in the European Theater of Operations.  During this time he served with the 303rd Bomb Group and the 41st Combat Wing.

Since the end of World War II, Colonel Calhooun has received duty assignments with the 6th Troop Carrier Squadron as commander, commander of the 374th Troop Carrier Group, Deputy Commander, 11th Bomb Group, Commander, 26th Bomb Squadron, Director of Operations, 19th Air Division, Director of Operations, for the Eighth Air Force, and duty with headquarters,, USAF in the Directorate of Operations.

In 1957 Colonel Calhooun was named Chief of the USAF Mission to Chile.  He was stationed in Santiago.  He has fluent knowledge of the Spanish language in writing, reading and speaking.  In 1960, he returned to Larson AFB, Wash., to become Base Commander of the 4170th Combat Support Group followed by position as Vice Commander of the 4170th Strategic Wing in 1961.

The on July 3, 1962, Colonel Calhoun took command of the 4128th Strategic Wing at Amarillo AFB, Texas, and on February 1, 1963, the 4128th was redesignated the 461st Bombardment Wing (Heavy) which Colonel Calhoun commands.

Colonel Calhoun has attended the Asiatic Course at Yale University, the Air Command and Staff School at Maxwell AFB, the Spanish Language School and the B-52 course at Castle AFB, Calif.

He has been awarded the Silver Star with one cluister, the Distinguished Flying Cross with three clusters, the Air Medal with four clusters, the Purple Heart, Presidental Citation and Frence Croix de Guerre with Palm.

Colonel Calhoun and his wife, the former Dondena Blaylock of Ft. Worth, Texas, have two sons: Mark and Mike.