General George Kenney

George Kenny

George Kenney

George Kenney was born in 1889 to American parents, but he was brought into the world in Nova Scotia, Canada after his family decided to take a summer trip up north to avoid the heat of Boston. Growing up in Massachusetts as the oldest of three younger siblings, Kenney succeeded through school flawlessly.

Eventually, he found himself attending college at the Massachusetts’ Institute of Technology (MIT), a very highly-regarded Ivy League school for some of the country’s brightest students. Aiming to pursue a career in civil engineering, he was well on his way to something great, even from a young age.

However, the beginning of World War I would throw his life into a tailspin again, setting him on an entirely different course – this one taking place high up in the sky.

Once the US entered WWI in April 1917, Kenney found himself ready to become a part of history. After enlisting as a flying cadet for the US Signal Corps Aviation Section in June, he attended ground school at MIT to hone his craft and learn his way around a plane.

While he was first commissioned as a first lieutenant in November, departing for France quickly thereafter, his further training overseas led to him becoming a member of the 91st Aero Squadron in 1918.

MacArthur (L) w/ Kenny

MacArthur (L) w/ Kenney

It was here that he would earn his first Silver Star for his aerial victory, taking down a German scout through his observer after his squadron was ambushed while out on a mission. Beyond that, Kenney even earned himself the Distinguished Service Cross for his ‘extraordinary heroism in action’ in a second attack by German fighters, helping protect his formation from enemy combatants.

His achievements led to him being promoted to Captain soon thereafter, and he took his new position in his stride, making great headway on reconnaissance missions during the Mexican Revolution.

During the time between the World Wars, Kenney took on various roles in the Air Force. He started as an air detachment commander in Kentucky and then moved on to becoming an air service inspector who inspected airplane machinery while test-flying them in Garden City, New York.

cover-Time-19430118-90214

It was in July 1942 that Kenney was promoted to his most important position yet: taking control of the Allied Air Forces and Fifth Air Force in General Douglas MacArthur’s Southwest Pacific Unit. The two developed a great working relationship, with MacArthur giving Kenney more freedom to make important decisions regarding his team than he’d ever been given in the past.

Promoted to Lieutenant General during his time in the South Pacific, Kenney was a part of new techniques and concepts while in league with the Allied Air Forces. They were trying new ordinances, new bombing strategies, and modifications to their aircraft.  So, when you see me writing about the 5th Air Force – Kenney is involved!

Gen. Kenny (L) wearing sunglasses.

Gen. Kenney (L) wearing sunglasses.

And in June 1944, Kenney was then appointed to commander of the Far East Air Forces (FEAF). He tried to create 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Air Task Forces to be in control of specific areas and missions themselves, but Washington officials weren’t happily complying with his plans. In fact, over his years in service, many of Kenney’s ideas would either go unheard or would ultimately be shot down completely.

Decades later, looking back, military officials have conceded that some of his innovations could have greatly changed the outcomes of some of the military’s failures during WWII. While hindsight is always 20/20, it seems inconceivable that Kenney’s expertise in the air force (and his high-ranking status) would not have given him more leeway in the decisions process.

R.I.P.

R.I.P.

After quite an accomplished career, George Kenney eventually retired from the Air Force in September 1951, living out his final years in Bay Harbor Islands, Florida. He passed away on August 9th, 1977, at age 88.

Condensed from War History online.

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Military Humor – 

There's always competition, isn't there?

There’s always competition, isn’t there?

Funny-Personality-135

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

James Abercrombie – Lumpkin City, GA; USMC, WWII

James Cifreo – Baton Rouge, LA; US Army, WWII, ATO (Alaska)$(KGrHqJ,!q!FBZQt+)FIBQf-bW24Mw~~60_35

Edward Dennery – Gloucester City, NJ; US Navy, WWII

Allen Hersey – Jupiter, FL; US Navy, WWII, USS Butner and Arkansas

Carl Laber – Randolph, MO; US Navy, WWII

Sylvia Applebaum Levy – Philadelphia, PA; USMC (Women’s Corps), WWII, Sgt.

Arlington Maxwell – Albany, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 187th/11th Airborne Division

Francis Phillips – Windsor, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII

Gordon Robertson – Auskland, NZ; RAF, WWII

Anton Utz – McCook, NE; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Signal Corps

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on May 26, 2016, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 84 Comments.

  1. Another impressive man. You’d know better than me but would getting along with Macarthur that well be fairly unique?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a fantastic example of one mans rise to prestigious fame, from the ground up through the ranks. George Kenney was a great example of the type of man who would be noted for their integrity during the war.
    Great post gp.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I do not know how you do it GP but you have a knack for bringing history alive! Good share as always😊

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Intriguing post, GP, but is there a ‘not’ missing in the sentence above the gravestone – as ‘It seems inconceivable ……………would not….’ ?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a great bio! Love the humor! Hope you have a great weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hindsight certainly is a wonderful thing. I wonder how may lives may have been saved had we listened to ideas like his. An interesting post and a nice tribute.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What an interesting career, General Kenney had! Love the military humor, as always. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Good story and et u believen not all the good idees are lost

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Good story and time to recognize a great general.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A really good story. I suppose lots of ideas are put forward in wartime but never see the light of day. Hopefully, these particular ideas were not rejected, as they so often are, for personal rather than professional reasons.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, there was a lot of that going on, but so much in the Pacific was new to the US military, it really was difficult to choose the correct mode of operation.

      Like

  11. Great story! Often it takes years to realize that great ideas are not always heard by the right ears.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Very interesting article, Everett! I have heard of him but now after reading have learned a lot more. Too bad they didn’t listen to some of his ideas and not surprised either that they wouldn’t. Great Job!!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Fun fact: the 43rd Bomb Group adopted the nickname of “Ken’s Men” for Brig. Gen. Kenneth Walker, Maj. Kenneth McCullar, and Gen. George Kenney.

    More about him: http://warfarehistorynetwork.com/daily/wwii/george-kenneys-air-force-during-the-pacific-war/

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Good bio. There are so many creative minds (Flucky comes to me) who did amazing things before ‘how we’ve always done it’ became entrenched.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. It is certainly interesting to learn about General Kenney as we approach the Memorial Day weekend. What a life of service.

    Like

  16. I know war is not romantic, but there is a touch of romance in Kenney’s early career it seems to me G. Also, on another note, Peggy and I just wandered through Nova Scotia where Kenney was born following my 10,000 mile bike trip route a couple of weeks ago. It’s beautiful, especially Cape Breton. –Curt

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Getting along well with MacArthur was a good thing. I believe when leaders at the top can cooperate in good spirit, it bodes well for everyone.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. A very interesting post on the career of General George Kennedy, who having been close to where the action was had the better strategies.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. GP, this is off-topic, so forgive me, but I would like some suggestions from you and your readers on the best book about the Battle for Okinawa? I have read “With the Old Breed” by Sledge so I was curious if anybody had read another good one?? Thanks!

    Like

  20. Very interesting post. Thanks for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. It’s a sad and all too common story: put smart people in charge of something where they have expertise but let uninformed budget-munchers override their decisions. This is bad enough when it happens in business, but it’s very sad when it happens in the military. I am guessing that “could have greatly changed the outcomes of some of the military’s failures” also means “could have prevented unnecessary deaths.”

    Great post, sorry to inject a little rant.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No problem. Being as I double check myself to certain I don’t inject my own opinions into the articles, it’s good to hear and to be able to speak our minds in the comments!!
      Thanks for dropping by, Dan.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Nice bio, GP. I have heard his name, but I knew little else about him.Thanks for teaching me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I confess that I have never heard of this general, but I enjoyed your tribute, and was very interested to read about his career.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I suppose I should have had this article posted before I went into New Guinea and the 5th Air Force activity__ my apologies, that would have made things clearer. But you will be hearing more about their activities as I start back up with Jan. 1944.
      Thanks stopping in, Pete.

      Like

  24. Sehr Interessant Grüße und Umarmung Gislinde

    Liked by 1 person

  25. A fascinating story about an amazing guy. See he retired just a couple of months before.I was born. All the best. Kris.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. “many of Kenney’s ideas would either go unheard or would ultimately be shot down completely.”

    For an air force story seems well said.

    Like

    • I feel Kenney didn’t receive the recognition that he deserved. He knew what he was doing, but some were trying to fight the Pacific in the same manner as Europe – and that just wasn’t the situation.

      Like

  27. Outstanding Bio there GP. I sure hope you can do more Bio’s like this,and not just of officers either..do some Non-Comms too! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s what the eye-witness accounts are all about. And I try to include quotes from as much as possible in the post. Being as this part of WWII was new to the military (amphibious landings, etc.), a capable leader was sometimes hard to find.
      We’ll be getting back into the war at January 1944 real soon now, so there should be more of what you’re looking for.

      Like

  28. Thank you, Paul.

    Like

  29. Thank you. The gentleman is quite deserving.

    Like

  30. Thank you for honoring these troops.

    Like

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