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John Richard Murphy


Lieutenant General John Richard Murphy is chief of staff, United Nations Command, and Chief of Staff, U.S. Forces Korea, with headquarters in Seoul, Korea.

General Murphy was born in Minot, N.D., in 1918. He graduated from high school in Fargo, N.D., in 1936, and attended North Dakota State University and Notre Dame prior to entering the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 1938. General Murphy graduated from the academy in 1942 with a commission as second lieutenant and immediately started flight training.

During World War II, General Murphy served with the Ninth Air Force in the European Theater of Operations as pilot; commander, 388th Squadron; deputy commander, 365th Group; and commander, 404th Fighter Group. He flew 139 missions with a total of 305 combat hours in the P-47 aircraft.

After World War II in November 1945, he was assigned intelligence duties at Headquarters Army Air Forces, Washington, D.C. He attended the Air Command and Staff School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., during 1947-1948, and then assumed command of the 27th Fighter Squadron, March Air Force Base, Calif., where he flew the F-80 fighter aircraft.

In March 1949 he went to Japan and was assigned to the 49th Fighter Wing as operations officer and in June 1949 became commander, 49th Fighter Group, at Misawa Air Base. In January 1950 he was transferred to Headquarters Fifth Air Force as assistant director of operations and in February 1950 became director. In July 1950 he went to Korea where he served as the first director of the Joint Operations Center and helped organize the Tactical Air Control System for the Korean War. He later served as executive officer of the 18th Tactical Fighter Wing and flew 30 combat missions in the F-51 fighter aircraft. He was reassigned as commander of the 49th Fighter Group and led the group on 89 combat missions in F-80 aircraft. He finished his Korean tour of duty with another assignment as director of the Joint Operations Center for Fifth Air Force.

General Murphy returned to the United States in September 1951 and was assigned to a training command at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., where he flew the F-51 and all versions of the F-84 aircraft. In July 1952 he became commander, 3555th Combat Crew Training Group, Perrin Air Force Base, Texas.

In August 1954 he went to Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, where he served as director, Combat Crew Training for Air Training Command. He went to O'Hare Field, Chicago, Ill., in January 1956, where he commanded the 56th Fighter Group. In July 1957 he returned to the Fifth Air Force in Japan as director of operations.

In August 1960 General Murphy was assigned to Headquarters Air Defense Command at Ent Air Force Base, Colo., as director of systems integration and programs. In August 1962 he entered the National War College, Washington, D.C. He next went to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., where he assumed command of the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing in September 1963. When the 833d Air Division was authorized in 1964, consisting of the 354th Tactical Fighter Wing, 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, and the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing, General Murphy was given the task of organizing and commanding the newly formed air division.

He went to Thailand in May 1965 where he served as deputy commander, 2d Air Division, Thirteenth Air Force, at Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base. From January through July 1966, he was assistant deputy commander, Seventh Air Force/Thirteenth Air Force, Thailand.

In August 1966 General Murphy was appointed deputy director, Legislative Liaison, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Washington, D.C., and in August 1968 became director. He was assigned as vice commander of Air Training Command, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, in July 1970.

In November 1972 he was assigned as vice commander, Fifth Air Force, Fuchu Air Station, Japan. General Murphy assumed duties as chief of staff, United Nations Command/United States Forces Korea, in October 1973.

His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross with three oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with 38 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Citation Emblem with three oak leaf clusters, Croix de Guerre (France), Belgian Fourragere, Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. He is a command pilot and rated parachutist.


Units served with


Associated Place

  • Gosfield

    Military site : airfield
    First used as an airfield during the First World War, when known as Royal Flying Corps/RAF Sible Hedingham, it was built as Gosfield for the Eighth Air Force and then Ninth Air Force in 1942-43. Home to first the 365th Fighter Group, then the 397th...

  • Fritzlar

    Military site : airfield

  • Bretigny

    Military site : airfield

  • Chievres

    Military site : airfield

  • Metz

    Military site : airfield

  • Florennes / Juzaine

    Military site : airfield

  • Aachen

    Military site : airfield

  • Beaulieu

    Military site : airfield

  • Lignerolles

    Military site : airfield


Event Location Date
Born Minot, North Dakota 19 September 1918
Graduated West Point, NY May 1942

United States Military Academy

388th FS Commander (Interim) RAF Beaulieu 5 April 1944 – 24 April 1944
388th FS Commander Azeville, France 30 May 1944 – 4 October 1944

took over while the squadron was still at RAF Beaulieu and commanded for four months while they moved with the front lines, the longest stint being at A-7 Azeville, France

404th Fighter Group Commander Y-86 Fritzlar, Germany 12 April 1945
Korean War Combat Tour Taegu, Korea January 1950 – September 1951

Flew over 100 missions in F-51 and F-80 aircraft with the 18th TFW and the 49th FG

Commander 56th Fighter Group Chicago O'Hare Airport January 1956 – July 1957
Died San Antonio, Texas 13 January 2000
Buried Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery 17 January 2000

Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery
San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas, USA
Section 26 Site 1345

49th Fighter Group Commander Misawa, Japan


Date Contributor Update
26 December 2020 23:56:13 466thHistorian Changes to middlename

added middle name

Date Contributor Update
26 December 2020 23:54:24 466thHistorian Changes to place associations and aircraft associations

cropped photo

Date Contributor Update
26 December 2020 22:00:38 466thHistorian Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, nationality, service number, highest rank, role, biography, events, unit associations and media associations