Charles "Buck" and Cuthbert "Bill" Pattillo

Charles "Buck" and Cuthbert "Bill"Pattillo (1924 - )

Charles C. "Buck" and Cuthbert A. "Bill" Pattillo, identical twins, were born in Atlanta, Georgia. They enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942 and received their wings and commissions in March, 1944. Assigned to the Eighth Air Force in England, as P-51 pilots with the 352nd Fighter Group, Buck completed 36 combat missions, and Bill 30. Bill was shot down by antiaircraft fire while strafing a German airfield in April, 1945, and was a POW until the end of the war. Released from active duty in December, 1945, they enrolled at the Georgia Institute of Technology and flew P-47s in the Georgia Air National Guard. Both were recalled to active duty in February, 1948, and assigned to the 31st Fighter Group, Albany, Georgia, then to the 36th Fighter Group, Germany. While there in 1949, Buck and Bill assisted in organizing the "Skyblazers" an aerial demonstration team. Flying P-80s and later F-84s, this four-ship formation team performed over 256 aerial demonstrations throughout Europe. Reassigned to Luke AFB, Arizona, in 1953 as Fighter Gunnery Instructors, they assisted in organizing and flew as wingmen on the original U.S. Air Force Aerial Demonstration Team, the "Thunderbirds".  After leaving Luke AFB, assignments included Command and Staff duties in the Tactical Air Command.

In 1961, they graduated from the University of Colorado with BA degrees in mathematics. Upon completion of the Army War College in 1965 and receiving their MA degrees from George Washington University, both were promoted to Colonel and assigned to Germany. The twins were separated for the first time in over 23 years of military service when Buck was assigned as a staff officer with the 17th Air Force, Ramstein, and Bill as the Director of Operations, Hahn Air Base. Buck commanded the 36th Tactical Fighter Wing (F-4s) at Bitberg, and the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing (F-4s) at Ubon, Thailand,  where he completed 120 combat missions. Buck was promoted in 1969 to Brigadier General with assignment as Vice Commander, Oklahoma City Air Materiel Area. He was promoted to Major General and assigned as Deputy Director for Logistics, The Joint Chiefs of Staff, Pentagon; then Commander, Lowry Technical Training Center, Colorado, then reassigned as Vice Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Air Forces. In 1979, he was promoted to Lieutenant General assigned to MacDill AFB, Florida, as Deputy Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Readiness Command. Buck retired from active duty in 1981. Bill was assigned as Director of Safety, USAF Europe, after leaving Hahn Air Base. He transferred to Vietnam and flew 230 combat missions in the F-100 as Vice Commander, 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing and Commander, 31st Tactical Fighter Wing. He later served at Headquarters, Tactical Air Command as Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations. In 1972, he was promoted to Major General and assigned to Headquarters, USAF, as Director of Operations. He became Deputy Chief of Operations and Intelligence for Allied Forces Central Europe in 1974. In 1977, he was Director of Plans and Readiness Command. He retired from active duty in 1980.

Generals Charles and Cuthbert Pattillo, founding members of the United States Air Force "Thunderbirds,” were enshrined in the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame April 29, 2000.