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William Slater Cowart Jr


Cowart was one of 6 staff officers to accompany Eaker to England in February 1942.

Cowart was instrumental in the creation of the 482nd Bomb Group in 1943.
OBITUARY 'RAPPAHANNOCK RECORD' 15.06.1995: ''Col. William Slater Cowart Jr., USAF, Ret., 77, of Lottsburg, died Sunday, June 4, 1995, in a Tappahanonck hospital after a long illness. He was a native of Northumberland County and the son of the late William Slater and Alice Eichelberger Cowart. He graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, with a BS in electrical engineering, and from Ohio Slate University with a M.S. in nuclear physics. His postgraduate work included investigation of the periodic table, chemical separations and analysis of radioactivity, and he was credited with the discovery of the isotope. Radioactive Selenium 73. Col. Cowart did supplemental studies at Harvard, M.I.T. and George Washington University. In 1940, he entered the regular U.S. Air Force. During his service in World War II, 1941-45, he established the Blind Bombing Force in Europe and China. He also established Tactical Bombs Radar Control System in Normandy, France, Belgium and Germany. He flew more than 50 combat missions in Europe and the Pacific. He was the recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Air Medal, Commendation Ribbon, Belgian Order of Leopold, Belgian Croix dc Guerre, French Crois de Guerre, the Dutch Orange Lanyad and the Purple Heart. From 1946-48, Col. Cowart was the director of Flight Control-All Weather Flying Center, where he established flight control facilities for the Air Force to use in all kinds of weather. From 1951-54, he served as Director of Operations-Joint Task Force 7FTF3, which tested atomic bombs, thermonuclear devices and hydrogen bombs. He also served as a design engineer at Los Alamos.
As the Chief of the Tactical Systems Division Air Research Development, he was responsible for the design and development of fighter-bombers. From 1958-60, he was the director of the National Aviation Facilities Experimental Center in Pomona, now known as the Federal Aviation Administration Technical Center. He helped select the site for the tcch center, developed air traffic control techniques, procidures and equipment and oversaw the planning and construction of the installation. He retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1960. He then joined Atlantic City Electric Company as an assistant to the executive vice president. He retired from Atlantic Electric as senior vice president with responsibilities over the personnel and public relations and customer and community service departments. Col. Cowart was affiliated with and held offices in many organizations and philanthropic groups in New Jersey. He was a past president and director of the Miss America Pageant.'' His USAAF/USAF career records show he flew B-17s, B-29s, B-50s, B-47 and B-52 bombers plus the F-84 and F-104 fighters.



  • Frank Armstrong

    Military | Lieutenant General | Commanding Officer; Pilot | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
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  • Peter Beasley

    Military | Colonel | Chief of Supply
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  • Frederick Castle

    Military | Brigadier General | Commanding Officer; Air Leader, Pilot | 487th Bomb Group
    Commanding Officer of 94th Bomb Group at Bury St. Edmunds from 19-Jun-43 to 16-Apr-44. Overseas with General Eaker's staff to organize 8th AF, February 1942. ...

  • Ira Eaker

    Military | Lieutenant General | Commanding General, 8th Air Force
    Commanding General of 8th AF 1 December 1942 to 5 January 1944. Following that, Eaker was given command of all Allied air forces in the MTO, and in April 1945 became Deputy CG of the USAAF. Retired July 1947. ...

  • Harris Hull

    Military | Brigadier General | Combat Intelligence Officer
    Hull was one of 6 Staff Officers to accompany General Eaker to England in February 1942. ...

  • Alfred Rabo

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Squadron Commander, Pilot | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Rabo is best known for nicknaming H2X radar 'Mickey Mouse' ...

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Units served with

  • Headquarters (Eighth Air Force)

    Headquarters (Eighth Air Force)

    8th Air Force Headquarters opened in London under the command of General Carl A Spaatz on 19 June 1942. It oversaw all Commands, Wings and Groups engaged in the Strategic Bombing Campaign until February 1944, when it became US Strategic Air Forces in...

Associated Place

  • Hendon

    Military site : airfield
    An RAF station which in 1944 was home to Douglas C-47 Skytrain lodgers.


Event Location Date
Born 31 October 1917

Northumberland County, Virginia. His father was a US Army Lt Col and Civil Engineer.

Enlisted 1940

Flew 50 missions in ETO and Pacific Theatre devising and perfecting bombing through cloud techniques.

Retired 1960 after holding a series of high-profile jobs with USAF post-war including tactician on atomic warfare, all-weather fighters, and air traffic control management.


Date Contributor Update
06 March 2020 13:41:17 miAmigo Changes to middlename, highest rank, role, biography, awards and events


Date Contributor Update
02 December 2019 10:47:57 Emily Changes to suffix, highest rank, biography, person associations and place associations

Freeman, Mighty Eighth, p 4

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:28:43 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Source: History [of] the Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron [and] WAC Detachment, Eighth Air Force. Alden Press, 1945.