World War II American General Officers' Project

 

 
 
 

A project dedicated to the study of the American General Officer and the preservation of their original uniforms, flags and medals.

General George C. Kenney 

By July of 1942 Japanese soldiers had already established themselves on the Solomon Islands and were advancing on New Guinea, driving towards the islands northeast of Australia. A Japanese Invasion on the Australian continent seemed inevitable. General Douglas MacArthur, who just months before was driven off the Philippine island of Corregidor took command of the Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA). While organizing his strategic defenses, MacArthur was outraged at how poorly his air forces were performing.  At that time air operations orders were being written by MacArthur's chief of staff General Richard Sutherland, but all that was about to change by George C. Kenney, an experienced airman, strategist and an exceptional leader.

On his first day of duty General Kenney took command of his air force facing down MacArthur's chief of staff in a manner that none of his predecessors had be able to do. In a meeting with chief of staff Gen. Sutherland, Kenney took a blank piece of paper, jabbed a dot into the center, and threw it in front of Sutherland stating: "The dot represents what you know about air operations, the entire rest of the paper is what I know." He won not only the support of Sutherland but of MacArthur.

Realizing the Allied strategy of winning the European conflict first, Kenney was noted as saying "we are inventing new ways to win a war on a shoestring". And winning they were. In less than a year Kenney's airmen handed Japan a crippling blow in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, sinking 12 ships and killing approximately 2900 troops. By late 1943 MacArthur's offensive was on the move thanks to Kenney and the first large-scale airlift of the war, dropping over 1,700 troops. Taking command of the Far East Air Force which comprised the 5 th and 13th Air Forces, Kenney continued overall direction of the SWPA air operations which by wars end was striking Kyushu, one of Japans home islands.

 

It was said by General H. H. Arnold Commanding General, Army Air Forces:  "No air commander ever did so much with so little" as did General George C. Kenney.

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