John K. Cannon
General John Kenneth Cannon was former chief of the United States Air Forces in Europe and a World War II Mediterranean combat commander.
Cannon was born on March 2, 1892, in Salt Lake City, Utah Territory. He graduated from Utah Agricultural College, which is now Utah State University. He was appointed a second lieutenant in the United States Army Infantry Reserve on November 27, 1917. He served at Camp Fremont (California), Camp Mills (New York), the Presido (San Francisco), Camp Furlong (New Mexico) before taking pilot training at Kelly Field (Texas) in 1921–1922. He completed pursuit pilot training at Ellington Field (Texas) in 1922 and in the fall became director of flying at Kelly.
In January 1925, Cannon was assigned to the 6th Pursuit Squadron at Luke Field on Ford Island (Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii), where he became operations officer of the 5th Composite Group. Two years later, he was commanding officer of the 94th Pursuit Squadron at Selfridge FIeld (Michigan). In 1929, he returned to Kelly Field as director of pursuit training, with promotion to captain, and became director of training at Randolph Field (Texas) in August 1931. He completed the courses at the Air Corps Tactical School and the Command and General Staff School, with promotion to major in March 1935 and assignment to March Field (California).
He served for three years as chief of the U.S. Military Mission in Buenos Aires, Argentina. While serving he was promoted to lieutenant colonel in March 1940 and colonel in January 1941. In October 1941, he went to Mitchel Field (New York) as chief of staff of the 1st Air Force and took command of the 1st Interceptor Command. He was promoted to brigadier general in February 1942.
During Operation Torch in November 1942, Cannon was the commanding general of the XII Air Support Command for the Western Task Force during the invasion of French Morocco. He moved to Algeria as commanding general of the XII Bomber Command. Through March and April 1943, he organized and commanded the Northwest African Training Command in the Northwest African Air Forces of the Mediterranean Air Command (MAC), the official Allied air force command organization in the Mediterranean Theater. In May 1943, Cannon became deputy commanding general of the Northwest African Tactical Air Force under Commander Air Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham for the Sicilian campaign and the invasion of Italy. He was promoted to major general in June and after MAC was disbanded in December, became commanding general of both the Twelfth Air Force and the Mediterranean Allied Tactical Air Force in the newly organized Mediterranean Allied Air Forces. Cannon was responsible for all air operations during the invasion of southern France in August 1944 (Operation Dragoon). In March 1945, he was promoted to lieutenant general and named air commander in chief of all Allied Air Forces in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. In May 1945, Lt. Gen. John K. Cannon became commanding general of U.S. Air Forces in Europe USAFE.
During his service he earned four Distinguished Service Medals, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Air Medal and decorations from Great Britain, France, Italy, Poland, Yugoslavia and Morocco.
He returned to the United States in April 1946 as commanding general of Air Training Command at Barksdale Field (Louisiana). In October 1948, he returned to Europe as commanding general of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and in March 1950 was designated commander-in-chief of U.S. Air Forces in Europe. In October 1951, he was promoted to general and appointed commanding general of Tactical Air Command at Langley Air Force Base (Virginia). General Cannon retired from the service on March 31, 1954.
He died of a heart attack on January 12, 1955, in Arcadia, California, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Clovis Air Force Base in Clovis, New Mexico, was rename Cannon Air Force Base in his honor on June 8, 1957. The Arnold Air Society Squadron at Utah State University is named the John K. Cannon Squadron in honor of his achievements and alumni status.
He was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.