George G. Finch, born April 11, 1902 in Dade City, Florida, is considered one of the pioneers in United States aviation history. He began his military career during World War 1, enlisting in the Aviation Section of the Army's Signal Corps in 1918. He remained in the Reserve Corps after the war, and in 1926, became Commander, 27th Pursuit Squadron, 1st Pursuit Group. In 1940, Georgia Governor Ed Rivers commissioned him to form the first flying unit of the Georgia Air National Guard. The unit was mobilized into the U.S. Army in September, 1941, with Major Finch as commander. After World War II, he was a leading critic of efforts to eliminate the air arm of the National Guard during peacetime. General Finch gained the respect and admiration of Air National Guardsmen throughout the nation with his steadfast support and successful efforts to preserve the Air Guard. He became the first Chief of the Air Force Division of the National Guard Bureau in 1948. Under his leadership, the Air National Guard built to combat readiness and was among the first components called into service after the outbreak of the Korean War. As a result of General Finch's vision and perseverance, 45,000 highly-trained officers and airmen of 22 wings and 65 squadrons gave the Air Force the strength it needed in the early, critical phases of the Communist drive down the Korean peninsula.
General Finch served as the senior Air Force member of the United Nations negotiating team at the peace talks at Panmunjom, Korea, and received the Legion of Merit for outstanding service in 1955; General Finch assumed command of Fourteenth Air Force, Robins AFB, Georgia, becoming the nation's first Air National Guardsman to head a numbered air force. General Finch had a career of "firsts" including the US Army's first night landing with a single, five-million-candlepower floodlight in 1927. He also established and endowed the General John P. McConnell Award at the United States Air Force Academy. Considered by many as the father of the strong, independent Air National Guard existing today, General Finch retired in 1957. No man has had greater impact on the Air Force Reserve and National Guard than has General George G. Finch.
A graduate of the University of Georgia and a member of the Georgia Bar, General Finch was enshrined in the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame May 18, 1996.