Maj. Gen. George A. Edwards, USAF (Ret), Daedalian Life Member #61

Maj. Gen. George A. Edwards, USAF (Ret)

March 8, 1929 – September 26, 2021

My beautiful precious father, Major General George A. Edwards, Jr., soared on Eagles wings and traveled a glorious last flight on Sunday, September 26, 2021 to be with our Heavenly Father. He is free of all afflictions and now beginning eternal life with Jesus Christ. As I was holding one hand, The Lord was holding the other which gives great comfort to us.

We are heartbroken and filled with grief, but comforted knowing we will be reunited!

Dad is 92 and has lived an amazing life filled with affection, adventure, love, compassion, humor and living life to the fullest every day. He cared and loved deeply.

His greatest love is our gorgeous and devoted mother, Jho Eleanor Stewart Edwards, who has shared their amazing journey together for 68 years. He told our mother every day she was beautiful and how much he loved her. He always said “Please take care of JoJo first … she is precious. Don’t worry about me … I’m okay”.

George Allen Edwards, Jr. was born March 8, 1929 in Nashville Tennessee and raised in Crossville Tennessee. He graduated from Cumberland High School in 1947 and graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1951. He has been an avid VOL his entire life since attending UT football games with his Grandfather, Dr. Venable Lane Lewis. He joined the Air Force as an aviation cadet immediately after graduating. He met Jho Eleanor on a blind date at Shaw Air Force base in Sumter, South Carolina and shortly thereafter, served in the Korean War. They remained in touch during this time and were married August 30, 1953. Their beautiful love story has unfolded through all the years since and their amazing, loving bond will continue for eternity!

My Father’s main passion was flying. He was a brilliant Air Force fighter pilot and reconnaissance pilot who served in the Korean and Vietnam wars. He patriotically served for 33 years, 1951-1984. His love of flying began in his very early years in Crossville Tennessee. He saved money for a few years from delivering newspapers on his bicycle and later in a 1929 Ford Model A Roadster with Rumble Seat. Interesting side note: Dad’s Grandfather, Dr. Lewis, who had tended to patients injured by glass windows in car accidents, changed the windows out to shatter-proof windows. At age 15, he began taking flying lessons with money he had saved delivering newspapers. He soloed in a Piper Cub aircraft at age 16! He was co-owner with his Grandfather at age 16 of an Aeronca Champion plane (65 HP engine). He also was able to fly his Grandfather, a Medical Doctor, to see the aerial view of Crossville countryside where he made house calls for years. After high school, he also participated in acrobatic air shows! He had a passion for adventure!

He received a bachelor’s degree in military science from the University of Maryland in 1961 and a master’s degree in international relations from San Francisco State College in 1965, all with highest honors. The General
graduated from Squadron Officer School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in 1955 and the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pa., in 1970.

General Edwards entered military duty with the Air Force as an aviation cadet in March 1951 during the Korean War. He graduated from flying school in June 1952 at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma, with a commission as a second lieutenant and his pilot wings.

In January 1953 General Edwards was assigned to the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Kimpo Air Base, South Korea, where he flew 101 missions in RF-80s.

From December 1953 to December 1956, he served as a jet flying instructor with the Air Training Command at Bryan Air Force Base, Texas. During this time, General and Mrs. Edwards had two children, George Allen, III and Paula Jho. He graduated from Squadron Officer School at Maxwell AFB, Alabama in 1955. Following assignments as an F-100 pilot at Nellis AFB, Nevada and with the 354th Tactical Fighter Wing at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, S.C., he transferred to Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., as Chief of Safety, and Chief of Standardization and Evaluation for the 432nd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing.

In July 1959 General Edwards was selected to assist in the re-establishment of the West German Air Force and for the next three years served as Senior Adviser for the newly formed Luftwaffe Wings at Erding, Ingolstadt and Eggebeck, Germany. In recognition of his services, the Chief of Staff of the German Air Force awarded him Luftwaffe Wings. General Edwards was one of the first Americans to receive that distinction.

General Edwards returned to Shaw Air Force Base in July 1962 and served as Assistant Director of Operations with the 4411th Combat Crew Training Group. The following year he transferred to the newly activated Tactical Air Reconnaissance Center at Shaw AFB, with duties involving all aspects of operations, training, concepts and doctrine. While there, he co-authored the training manual for the F/RF-4 aircraft.

From July 1964 to June 1965, General Edwards was a graduate student at San Francisco State College under the Air Force Institute of Technology program and graduated with highest distinction. In July 1965 he joined the Directorate of Concepts and Doctrine in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Plans, Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Virginia.

In 1967, after combat training at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, General Edwards was assigned to the Republic of Vietnam as Commander of the 16th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, flying RF- 4C’s. After completing his combat tour in the RF-4C, he served a consecutive combat tour as Commander of Detachment One, 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, flying RB-57s. He flew 213 combat missions. In 1968 he transferred to Headquarters U.S. European Command as Operations Officer with the Joint Reconnaissance Center at Vaihingen, Germany.

General Edwards attended the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, PA., August 1969, and was a distinguished graduate in June 1970. He then was assigned to Bergstrom Air Force Base, Austin Texas, as Director of Operations for the 75th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing. In July 1972 he assumed command of the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing also at Bergstrom. As Wing Commander, General Edwards commanded a large unit including four flying squadrons with worldwide responsibilities and was also charged with looking after and providing all military and flying support for President Lyndon Johnson and the LBJ ranch.

In April 1974, General Edwards returned to Headquarters Langley AFB, Tactical Air Command and served in succession as Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Inspector General, Chief of Staff, and Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans.

On August 1, 1976 he was promoted to Major General. He returned to Bergstrom in October 1977 as Vice Commander of 12th Air Force. In July 1978, he was assigned as Commander of the 314th Air Division (7th Air Force), Osan Air Base, South Korea. The General was also Commander of the Korean Air Defense Sector, Deputy Commander of Air Forces Korea, and Director of Readiness and Combat Operations for the Air Component Command/Combined Forces Command, directing all air activities in Korea. During a Korean national emergency, General Edwards commanded the first operational deployment of the USAF Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS). In 1979, he was awarded Korean Air Force Wings and in 1980, he was awarded the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation ad the Order of National Security Merit with Cluster, the highest medal the Republic of Korea awards.

Upon returning to the United States, General Edwards was assigned as Director of Plans and Policy, J5, and Inspector General, US Readiness Command, MacDill AFB, Tampa Florida. He was responsible for planning for the deployment of US air and ground forces to Latin America and the Middle East. He also assisted in the establishment of the US Central Command (CENTCOM).

Major General George A. Edwards Jr. retired in 1984.

He is a command pilot with more than 5,000 flying hours in jet fighter and reconnaissance aircraft plus more than 2,000 hours in civilian aircraft accumulated primarily prior to his entry into the Air Force. In 1959 he established the official world speed record for the 500-kilometer closed course in the RF-101 at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

His military decorations and awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, two Legions of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with three oak leaf clusters, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal with 19 oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Citation emblem, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award ribbon with four oak leaf clusters, Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation and Republic of Korea Order of National Security Merit with cluster.

After retirement from the Air Force, General Edwards pursued a business career while residing in Lakeway/Austin Texas. He served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Pilot Research Associates; Consultant to Lockheed Missiles and Space Company; Associate of Burdeshaw Associates; VP of Pen-Mar Oil Co.; VP and Secretary-Treasurer of Scientific Measurement Systems. He was also active in real estate and home construction businesses.

Dad says that of all his accomplishments, he is most proud of his loyal, supportive and superbly capable wife, my mother, JoJo, who was with him every step of the way! He also said how proud he was of all his children and grandchildren every time we talked to him. He was always so caring, loving and giving! We are all truly blessed to have such a wonderful Father and Grandfather!

George Allen Edwards, Jr was preceded in death by his parents, George A. Edwards, Sr. and Vera Lorene Lewis Edwards; grandparents, Dr. Venable Lane Lewis and Rachel Florence Wallace Lewis; his beautiful sister, Jane Edwards Cravens Marlow and so many other family members who he greatly cherished.

George Allen Edwards, Jr. is survived by his wife, Jho Eleanor Stewart Edwards, his son, George Allen Edwards, III.; his daughter, Paula Jho Edwards Palombit, son-in-law, Rudy Palombit; Grandchildren, Lisa Jho DeVos, Laura Jennifer Ernst (Timothy Alan), Michael Edwards, Robert Edwards, Aaron Edwards; great-grandchildren, Dominic Kruse, Skye Hancock, Arabella Ernst and Liam Ernst; nieces and nephews, Rachel Hill, Monique Hobbs, Matthew Neely, Michael Neely, Debra VandenBos.
Dad deeply loved family and welcomed us to visit as often as possible. He never wanted us to leave and made every day feel like Christmas! We always received grand greetings at the airport complete with champagne and yellow roses. He catered to us from the moment we arrived … large welcome signs my mother drew … asking what we would like for our first dinner … a welcome gift on the beds, and of course the adventurous schedule ahead. To share how wonderful and happy our childhood was would take endless hours. Our parents allowed us to be kids and really live, use our imagination … climbing trees, riding bikes for miles, playing games and staying outside as much as we desired, as long as they knew exactly where we were and were home on time for lunch and dinner.

Dad never knew a stranger and to this day has wonderful steadfast friends worldwide. He was so gracious and the ultimate, perfect host. My father was a man of integrity. He was admired, respected and an inspiration to all who knew him. He always helped those in need and who were less fortunate. He was a member of several civic organizations. He was a member of the Order of Daedalians and the Int’l Wine and Food Society. He was just so much fun to be around! He was a master storyteller and always shared many jokes and humorous stories … most stories involving him. He was an avid golfer, loved to entertain and enjoyed traveling, especially to visit family, annual trips to Hawaii for 30+ years, and traveling to as many UT VOL games as possible. He had a zest for life, high energy level and wonderful, positive personality that attracted so many people to him. He remained loyal to all his friends. He is loved by all!

Not a day will pass without missing him greatly. We will continue to honor and remember our father every day with precious, loving memories. Lord, thank you for blessing us with Dad! Please give us strength and may we always feel your presence.