Lieutenant General Charles C. "Buck" Pattillo
Charles C. "Buck" Pattillo Charles C. Buck Pattillo © USAF
© USAF

Defense Distinguished Service MedalAir Force Distinguished Service Medal 1 Oak Leaf Cluster
Legion of Merit Medal with 2 Oak Leaf ClustersDistinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf ClusterAir Medal with 12 Oak Leaf Clusters
Air MedalAir Force Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf ClusterArmy Commendation Medal
Combat Readiness MedalPresidential Citation Unit with 2 Oak Leaf ClustersAmerican Campaign Medal European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 4 Bronze StarsWWII Victory MedalArmy of Occupation Medal Medal for Humane ActionNational Defence Service Medal with 1 Bronze StarArmed Forces Expeditionary Medal Vietnam Service Medal with 3 Bronze StarsAir Force Overseas Short Tour Medal with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf ClustersAir Force Overseas Long Tour Medal with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters Air Force Longevity Service Award 1 Silver 2 Bronze OLCPresidential Citation Unit with 2 Oak Leaf ClustersFrench Croix De Guerre with Bronze Palm Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Honor MedalVietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation MedalRepublic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
Units: 486th FS, 352nd FG
WWII score: 5 strafing kills
3 damaged while strafing
Born: Atlanta, Georgia, 03/06/1924
Rank: Lieutenant General
Medals: * Defense Distinguished Service Medal
* Air Force Distinguished Service Medal with OLC
* Legion Of Merit Medal with 3 OLC
* Distinguished Flying Cross with OLC
* Air Medal with 10 OLC
* Army Commendation Medal
* Presidential Unit Citation with OLC
* Outstanding Unit Award with Valor and 1 OLC
* Combat Readiness Medal
* American Campaign Medal
* European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 4 Stars
* WWII Victory Medal
* Army of Occupation Medal
* Medal for Humane Action
* National Defence Service Medal with 1 Star
* Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
* Vietnam Service Medal with 3 Stars
* Air Force Overseas Short Tour Medal
* Air Force Overseas Long Tour Medal with 2 OLC
* Air Force Longevity Service Award with 8 OLC
* French Croix De Guerre
* Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal
* Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation Medal
* Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
Aircraft: P-51D, PZ-W
SN: 44-13737
"Little Rebel "
   
 
Back to Aces index
 
 

 

 

Thunderbirds are go

Both brothers were released from active duty in December of 1945 and they both enrolled as engineering students at the Georgia Institute of Technology. While attending school, they also both flew with the 128th FS, 54th Fighter Wing of the Georgia Air National Guard. Bill was a flight commander there, flying P-47s.

He remained in service with the George ANG until he was recalled to active duty with the USAF on March 26th , 1948, flying Mustangs again and being assigned to the 31st FG at Turner AFB, Georgia. After that, he and his brother served with the 22nd FS of the 36th TFW at Fustenfeldbruck AFB, Germany, from January of 1949 until July of 1952.

There, they flew jets, more specifically the P-80 Shooting Star and F-84 Thunderjet.

While stationed in Europe, both brothers helped organise and flew with the USAF Europe Aerial Demonstration Team, the “Skyblazers”, also flying P-80s and later F-84s. Bill was a Captain at this time and flew right wing of the demo team in over 250 air shows in Europe, Africa and Asia.

Buck Pattillo Skyblazers © Aerobatic Teams.net

Skyblazers
Top: Bill and his twin brother Buck were co-founders of the first USAF aerobatic team, the Skyblazers (© Aerobatic Teams.net)
Above: The Skyblazer pilots, left to right: Capt. Cuthbert A. "Bill" Pattillo, Lt. Lawerence D. Damewood, Maj. Harry K. Evans, Capt. Charles "Buck" Pattillo
Below left: First USAF Demonstration Team "Thunderbirds" pilots, left to right: Capt. Bob Kanaga, Buck, Capt. Bob McCormick, Maj. Dick Catledge, Bill

The original Thunderbird squad © USAFIn October of 1952, he was assigned to Pinecastle AFB in Florida, as fighter gunnery instructor with the 3542nd Flying Training Squadron. In March of 1953, both brothers were assigned to Luke AFB, Arizona, as fighter gunnery instructors. At this time, both also helped organize and were part of the USAF Demonstration Team, the Thunderbirds, which were designated the 3600th Air Demonstration Unit at that time.

Seven officers and twenty-two enlisted were selected for the first demonstration team, most were handpicked from the cadre at Luke AFB. Major Dick Catledge, a training Sqn Commander at Luke AFB, was chosen as the team's leader. Bill and Buck (both Captains by now) flew right and left wing respectively during the first display season. The slot position was filled in by Capt. Bob Kanaga, also an instructor at Luke AFB. The Thunderbirds were initially a four-ship demo team, flying the F-84G Thunderjet and later the F-84F Thunderstreak. They became the worlds' first supersonic demo team when they switched to the F-100C Super Sabre in 1956. They moved to Nellis AFB that same year.

Bill & Buck Pattillo Thunderbirds © USAF
Above and below: Bill and Buck flying right and left wing respectively with the early USAF Demonstration Team "Thunderbirds"
Bill & Buck Pattillo Thunderbirds © USAF

In 1954, Bill was assigned as commander of the 3603rd Combat Crew Training Sqn at Luke AFB.

From February of 1954 to June of 1956, Buck was assigned as commander of the 3603rd Combat Crew Training Sqn at Luke AFB. From July of 1956 to January of 1959, he was commander of the 391st Fighter-Bomber Sqn at England AFB, Louisiana, deploying with the Squadron to Italy from December 1956 to June 1957.

In September of 1959, he entered the University of Colorado, under the Air Force Institute of Technology program, where he and his brother earned a degree in mathematics in January of 1962. Both brothers then joined the 4450th Standardization and Evaluation Group in Langley, Virginia. Buck stayed there from March of 1962 until July of 1964.

He attended the Army War College starting August of 1964 and in July of 1965, where he was promoted to Colonel and assigned to the Headquarters 17th AF in Ramstein, Germany. This was the first time in over 23 years of military service that the two brothers had been completely separated from each other. He stayed there until May of 1967.

He then assumed duty as Commander of the 36th TFW at Bitburg Air Base, West-Germany, until May of 1968, flying the F-4 Phantom II.

From May to July of 1968, Buck served as Vice Commander of the 8th TFW at Ubon Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, and became Commander of the Wing in July of that same year. He went on to fly 120 combat missions over Vietnam in the Phantom.

In June of 1969, he was promoted to Brigadier General and became Vice Commander of the Oklahoma City Material Area at Tinker AFB.

In November of 1971 he became Deputy Director for Logistics, J-4, Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at Washington D.C., where he was promoted to Major General.
In December of 1973 he went on to Commander of the Lowry Technical Training Center at Lowry AFB, Colorado and then to Vice Commander in Chief, Pacific Air Forces at Hickam AFB, Hawaii from September 1975 to February of 1979.

His last promotion to Lieutenant General came in March of 1979, when he became Deputy Commander in Chief of the US Readiness Command at McDill AFB, Florida, until September of 1979. This was followed by the function of Vice Director of the Joint Deployment Agency, also at McDill, until January of 1980.

From January of 1980 until his retirement from the Air Force in 1981, he served as both Deputy Commander in Chief of US Readiness Command and Vice Director of the Joint Deployment Agency.

During his long carreer with the USAF, he received such honours as the Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with 10 oak leaf clusters, Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal with one Bronze Service Star, Air Force Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit with 3 oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal, Distinguished Unit Citation emblem with oak leaf cluster, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Republic of Vietnam Air Force Distinguished Service Order 2 nd Class, French Croix de Guerre with palm and Air Force pilot wings Nicaragua, Brazil, China and Peru.

In 2009, P-51D-30-NT N5551D, was restored in his honor and General Pattillo attended EAA Venture at Oshkosh in 2009, along with his twin brother Buck. Bob Baker also restored P-51D-25-NA, N451D, “Sweet & Lovely”, Bill's P-51 and both brothers flew side by side once more, in the backseat of the Mustangs they once flew over 60 years ago.

You can view some footage of EAA Oshkosh 2009 below:

Movie clip 1
Movie Clip 2

Little Rebel © 352nd FG Association Archive
Above: Colorized image of Buck'ss 44-13737 PZ-W "Little Rebel". (© 352nd FG Association Archive)
Pattillo brothers © 352nd FG Association Archive
Above and below: Bill and Buck posing in front of Buck's P-51 44-13737 PZ-W "Little Rebel" in Bodney in 1945 and again in Oshkosh in 2009 when both brothers were reunited with both P-51s restored by Bob Baker in their honour. (© 352nd FG Association Archive, with a big thanks to both Bill and Buck for their personally signed copy of the photo. © picture below Scott Slocum)
Pattillo brothers © Scott Slocum

Pattillo brothers © Scott Slocum
Above: both brothers flying in formation again in the back seat of "their" P-51s during EAA Oshkosh in 2009. (© Scott Slocum)

Back to top - Previous page

Copyright © Christophe Haentjens - http://www.crazyhorseap.be