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LOVING Lt. General GEORGE G. LOVING, JR. U.S. Air Force (Retired) Lt. General George Gilmer Loving, Jr., U.S. Air Force (Retired), died on December 31, 2016, at the age of 93, in Williamsburg, Virginia where he had resided since 1997. A native of Lynchburg, Virginia, he was the son of George Gilmer Loving, Sr. and the former Ora Page Carr. He attended E. C. Glass High School in Lynchburg, as well as Lynchburg College. Shortly after America's entry into World War II, then a college student, he volunteered for military service in March 1942 as an aviation cadet and was graduated from flying school in 1943 with a commission as a second lieutenant, U. S. Army Air Corps. As a fighter pilot, he flew 151 combat missions in Spitfires and Mustangs during World War II and fought in air battles over much of Europe. He qualified as a fighter ace during this period, having been credited with shooting down five enemy aircraft and damaging two others in aerial combat. He was Lynchburg's first fighter ace. Following the war, he received a U. S. Air Force regular officer's commission and remained on active duty for more than 37 years. Immediately after Japan's surrender, he was assigned to command a fighter squadron as a part of the occupation force. During the Korean War, as the commander of a fighter-bomber squadron, he fought in five major campaigns, flying 113 missions against North Korean and Chinese communist forces. In subsequent years, he served as a test pilot at the Air Proving Ground, an instructor at the Air Command and Staff College, an advisor to the Republic of China's National War College, and as a staff officer in the Pentagon. Following his promotion to brigadier general in 1970, he was assigned as Commandant, Air Command and Staff College. This was followed by advancement to major general and assignment as Air Force Director of Plans in 1973. In 1975, he was the Senior United States Military Representative at the NATO - Warsaw Pact arms limitations negotiations in Vienna, and later that same year, as a lieutenant general, he was placed in command of the Sixth Allied Tactical Air Force (NATO) with headquarters in Izmir, Turkey. His final assignments (1977-1979) were as Commander, United States Forces, Japan and Commander, Fifth Air Force with headquarters near Tokyo. A Command Pilot, his decorations included the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Legion of Merit and Distinguish Flying Cross, as well as a number of other U.S. and foreign decorations. He was inducted into The Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame in 2012. His formal educational achievements included: BA, University of Alabama; MS, George Washington University; Graduate, Air War College; Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations. Following his retirement in 1979, General Loving was a consultant with RAND Corporation for a period, and then for seven years served as Executive Director of the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida (1981-1988). He moved to Williamsburg in 1997. General Loving is survived by his wife, the former Mary Ambler Thomasson; two daughters, Cary Ambler Loving of Richmond, Virginia, and Betty Page Loving of Palmyra, Virginia; a granddaughter, Emily Page Bidgood; a great grandson, Willis Ambler Bidgood; and two sisters, Mrs. Wayland (Nancy) Rice of Lynchburg, Va. and Mrs. Hugh (Grace) Mahanes of Kensington, Maryland. He was predeceased by his two brothers, Dabney Carr Loving and Clarence Gilmer Loving. Interment will take place at Arlington National Cemetery.Interment will take place at Arlington National Cemetery.
Published in The Washington Post on Jan. 6, 2017
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