Gor­don H. Austin


The Washington Post Sunday - - OBITUARIES - — Ti­mothy R. Smith

Gor­don H. Austin, 97, a re­tired Air Force ma­jor gen­eral who, dur­ing a 30-year ca­reer, was re­spon­si­ble for the air de­fense of Alaska and the East­ern re­gion of the United States, died Dec. 18 of con­ges­tive heart fail­ure at his home in Alexan­dria.

Gen. Austin had been com­man­der of the 11th Air Di­vi­sion with re­spon­si­bil­ity for Alaska’s air de­fense and later was com­man­der of the East­ern re­gion of the North Amer­i­can Aero­space De­fense Com­mand.

He re­tired from the Air Force in 1966 and set­tled in 1968 in Alexan­dria.

Gor­don Har­ri­son Austin was born in Daven­port, Iowa. He grad­u­ated in 1936 from the U.S. Mil­i­tary Academy at West Point, N.Y. Later based in Hawaii, he be­came a squadron com­man­der at Wheeler Army Airfield. He sur­vived the sur­prise Ja­panese at­tack on Pearl Har­bor on Dec. 7, 1941.

As a fighter pi­lot dur­ing World War II, Gen. Austin flew 100 com­bat hours. He later com­manded a B-26 bomber group.

He grad­u­ated from the Na­tional War Col­lege in Washington in 1953 and then was as­signed to Alaska. He later be­came the se­nior Air Force rep­re­sen­ta­tive to NATO un­til tak­ing his com­mand at NORAD.

Gen. Austin’s mil­i­tary dec­o­ra­tions in­cluded the Sil­ver Star, which he re­ceived for shoot­ing down mul­ti­ple en­emy air­craft while es­cort­ing U.S. bombers dur­ing an air raid in North Africa. He also re­ceived the Le­gion of Merit and Dis­tin­guished Fly­ing Cross.

Gen. Austin en­joyed the out­doors and tak­ing trips to an is­land he owned on Lake Huron.

Joyce Ted­man Austin, his wife of 44 years, died in 1994.

A son, Ed­mund Austin, died in 1973.

Sur­vivors in­clude his wife of 15 years, Bil­lie Lit­tle Austin of Alexan­dria; two chil­dren from his first mar­riage, Betsy Austin of Water­bury Cen­ter, Vt., and Sally Bohlin of Waverly, Pa.; two stepchil­dren, Bill Tedards of Tuc­son and Ann Tedards of Eu­gene, Ore.; nine grand­chil­dren; and four great-grand­chil­dren.

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