Skip to main content
Edit entry 

Cuthbert A Pattillo


In November 1942, Pattillo together with his twin brother enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces, later completing the aviation cadet program and receiving his pilot wings and commission as a second lieutenant at Marianna, Fla., in March 1944. He and his brother joined the 352nd Fighter Group in December 1944, flying P-51 Mustangs in the European Theater of Operations.

Pattillo flew 135 combat missions in World War II, engaging and shooting down a German Me 262, and destroying six other enemy aircraft. On April 16, 1945, while attacking Ganacker airfield and shortly after destroying two enemy aircraft, his P-51 Sweet and Lovely was shot down by anti-aircraft fire. Pattillo successfully bailed out and was then captured by the Germans and remained a POW until the end of the war.

At the end of World War II, Pattillo left the Army Air Forces to attend the Georgia Institute of Technology. While a student he was commander of an F-47 flight with the 54th Fighter Wing of the Georgia National Guard.

Post War Service and USAF Thunderbirds:

He was recalled to active duty in March 1948 and assigned as a jet pilot to the 31st Tactical Fighter Wing at Turner Air Force Base, Ga. In January 1949 he was assigned to the 36th Tactical Fighter Wing at Furstenfeldbruck Air Base, Germany, flying F-80s and F-84s. While in Europe he helped form and flew on the U.S. Air Forces in Europe-North Atlantic Treaty Organization aerial demonstration team, the "Skyblazers."

In October 1952 he was assigned as a fighter gunnery instructor with the 3542nd Flying Training Squadron at Pinecastle Air Force Base, Fla. In March 1953 he went to Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., as a gunnery instructor with his twin brother, now Lieutenant General Charles C. Pattillo, U.S. Air Force, who is vice director of the Joint Deployment Agency which is collocated with the U.S. Readiness Command. Together they were instrumental in forming the Thunderbirds, the first U.S. Air Force official aerial demonstration team. Pattillo flew right wing and his brother flew left wing in the original team in 1953.[5] Pattillo was assigned as commander of the 3603rd Combat, Crew Training Squadron at Luke Air Force Base in June 1954.

In November 1955 he assumed duties as air operations officer with the 613th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 401st Tactical Fighter Wing at England Air Force Base, La., and in December 1956 served a six-month temporary tour of duty as Ninth Air Force liaison officer with Tactical Air Command rotational units at Aviano Air Base, Italy. He returned to England Air Force Base in June 1957 and served briefly with the 401st Fighter-Bomber Group as operations officer and in September 1957 became commander of the 615th Tactical Fighter Squadron.

In September 1959 Pattillo entered the University of Colorado, under the Air Force Institute of Technology program, and graduated in January 1962 with a degree in mathematics. In February 1962 he was assigned to the 4450th Standardization and Evaluation Group at Langley Air Force Base, Va.

In August 1964 he attended the U.S. Army War College. Pattillo returned to Germany in August 1965 and served as deputy commander for operations with the 50th Tactical Fighter Wing, Hahn Air Base. In February 1967 he became director of safety for the U.S. Air Forces in Europe at Lindsey Air Station, Germany.

Vietnam War:

Pattillo transferred to the Republic of Vietnam in August 1968 as vice commander of the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing at Bien Hoa Air Base. In October 1968 he assumed duties as vice commander of the 31st Tactical Fighter Wing at Tuy Hoa Air Base. In February 1969, Pattillo became the commander of the 31st Tactical Fighter Wing.

Military Command:

Returning to the United States in October 1969, the general was assigned to Headquarters Tactical Air Command at Langley Air Force Base as assistant deputy chief of staff, plans, and in December 1970 become assistant deputy chief of staff, operations. In September 1972 Pattillo was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., as deputy director of operations in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations, and assumed duties as director of operations in February 1973.

In May 1974 Pattillo was assigned to Allied Forces Central Europe as the deputy chief of staff for operations and intelligence and senior U.S. representative. The general was transferred to MacDill Air Force Base in July 1977.

Pattillo was a highly decorated command pilot with more than 5,000 flying hours.



  • Anthony Goebel

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 352nd Fighter Group
    With the World at War, Anthony H. Goebel (age 24) felt compelled to enlist in military service and reluctantly left his young, wartime bride to join the US Army Air Corps in 1942. After qualifying to become a pilot, Flight Cadet Goebel completed two...

  • Charles Pattillo

    Military | Lieutenant General | Fighter Pilot | 352nd Fighter Group
    He and his twin brother Cuthbert 'Bill' flew with the same group.

Show more

Units served with



Event Location Date
Prisoner of War (POW) 6 April 1945


Date Contributor Update
14 August 2019 12:44:59 general ira snapsorter Changes to role and events

MACR 13859

Date Contributor Update
15 June 2018 20:33:29 ajgoebel Changes to highest rank


Date Contributor Update
15 June 2018 20:20:23 ajgoebel Changes to aircraft associations

June 15th, 2018

Date Contributor Update
15 June 2018 20:19:31 ajgoebel Changes to person associations

June 15th, 2018

Date Contributor Update
15 June 2018 20:17:18 ajgoebel Changes to media associations

June 15th, 2018

Date Contributor Update
15 June 2018 19:57:28 ajgoebel Changes to nickname and biography

June 15th, 2018

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:06:42 AAM AAM ingest

Ted Damick, VIII Fighter Command pilots list