Brigadier General Edwin S. Chickering
Brigadier General Edwin S. Chickering, fondly known as “Chick”, died Friday, February 14, 2003 in Little Rock. He was born September 21, 1912, the third of four children of James and Helen Chickering of Oil City, Pennsylvania, where his father was with the Oil Well Supply Company. He grew up in Oil City, attended the University School in Cleveland, Ohio, and graduated with an engineering degree from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in 1935 where he was a member of the Chi Psi fraternity as were his father and older brother before him. During his boyhood, Chick developed a passion for flight, leading him to build and then fly his own glider which hung in the engineering lab at Lehigh for many years. Following graduation from Lehigh he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and attended flight school at Randolph and Kelly Fields in San Antonio, Texas. After winning his wings he applied for and was awarded a regular commission as a Second Lieutenant and was assigned to Kelly Field as an instructor. During this time he met and married Mary Jim Lane of Little Rock, Arkansas.
When the U. S. entered World War II, Chick was appointed Commander of the 357th Fighter Group which he led in combat from England. In June of 1944 he went into Normandy on D-Day Plus Two with advance elements of the Ninth Tactical Air Force to establish airfields which would be used by the Allies. Subsequently he was named Commander of the 367th Fighter group which he led until the war ended. During the war he was promoted to Colonel.
Following World War II, Colonel Chickering became an instructor at the Air Command and Staff School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. He attended the Air War College, graduating in 1950. In November of 1950 the Chickerings’ son James was born.
During the Korean conflict, Colonel Chickering served as Deputy Commander of the Air Force Fighter Weapons School, Las Vegas, Nevada, and later commanded the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Kimpo, Korea.
Upon his return to the U. S. from Korea, Colonel Chickering became Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations of the Ninth Air Force and was based at Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina. In 1954 he was promoted to Brigadier General and assigned as Commander of the 405th Fighter Bomber Wing and Commander of Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. These organizations were merged into the 836th Air Division in 1957 which General Chickering commanded. During his tour of duty at Langley, General Chickering was awarded a commendation from the community of Hampton Roads for exceptional community service that raised the prestige of the military and greatly improved the relations between the military personnel of Langley and the surrounding area.
In 1958 General Chickering was assigned as Chief of Staff for Operations of the Pacific Air Forces, Hickam Air Force Base, Honolulu, Hawaii. In August of the following year he took command of the Pacific Air Forces Base Command, the Hawaiian Air Defense Division, and Hickam Air Force Base. During his tour of duty, statehood brought many exciting changes to Hawaii.
Returning to the mainland in 1961, General Chickering was assigned to the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force and later to the Office of the Secretary of Defense on a special project with the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. His last military assignment followed as Chief of Staff to the U. S. Representative to the NATO Military Committee and Standing Group. General Chickering retired in November of 1967 in Alexandria, Virginia.
Active as always in his retirement, Chick worked several years for a Baltimore, Maryland engineering firm. He also was a founding member of the Clan Hamilton Society at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in Linville, North Carolina and served as its Arkansas Commissioner after moving to Little Rock. Chick was an active Rotarian and held several offices including President.
General Chickering always encouraged youth and education, and in addition to the schools which he attended, he supported The Episcopal High School of Alexandria, Virginia, The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, and The College School of Webster Groves, Missouri, among others. He also generously supported the construction of the new Cannon Memorial Hospital in Linville, North Carolina.
Chick is survived by his wife Mary Jim Chickering, his son Jim Chickering and daughter-in-law Robin Chickering of St. Louis, Missouri, his grandchildren Allison Christine Chickering and Edwin Shepard Chickering II, also of St. Louis, his older brother Kenton Chickering of Houston, Texas, nephews, Kenton Chickering III of Houston, Texas, Scott Chickering of The Woodlands, Texas, Benjamin Hamilton Chickering of Canton Georgia, a niece, Mrs. Carolyn Moore of Hilton Head, South Carolina, a nephew, Col. Champlin F. Buck III of Alexandria, Virginia, many cousins, and a host of admiring friends. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Easter Seals of Arkansas (3920 Woodland Heights Rd, Little Rock, AR 72212), All Saints Episcopal Mission (P. O. Box 117, Linville, NC 28646), The Friends of the Air Force Academy Library (P. O. Box 188, U. S. Air Force Academy, Colorado, 80840), or to another worthy cause.
Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery. Arrangements are by Ruebel Funeral Home.