B.M. Giles, Date Unknown (Source: findagrave.com)
Barney Giles was born September 13, 1892 In Mineola, TX. With him was his identical twin, Benjamin Franklin Giles. The 1900 U.S. Census, his first, revealed that he was born into a large family: as of the date of the Census he had seven other brothers and sisters living with him and his parents. His father was a farmer in Wood County, Texas. In the 1910 Census, when he was 17 years old, his mother had passed away. His widowed father and his family lived on the same farm and Giles and his brother were employed as farm laborers on the family farm.
By the 1920 Census, he was stationed in Virginia and listed as a boarder with a fellow officer and his family at the Air Services Depot, Morrison, VA. Giles was married three times and widowed twice. On April 18, 1922 he married for the first time to Hollyce Thomas (1890-1968). They had no children together, but Hollyce had a daughter, Margaret R., who was listed living with them in the 1930 Census. They lived in Riverside, CA where Giles was and officer at March Field.
Their marriage lasted until Hollyce passed away in 1968. On November 30, 1969 at age 76 he married Laura E. Edwards (57; 1912-1974) in Bexar, TX. She passed away a few years later. And on October 11, 1975 he married Katherine Jacobs Gregg (1906-2000) to whom he was married when he flew West in 1984.
Giles attended the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field in Alabama with his twin brother. They graduated in June 1935, both holding the rank of major. In 1938 he graduated from the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, KS. With U.S. entry into WWII, Giles rose quickly in rank. His wartime accomplishments are cited below.
Postwar, a U.S. Immigration form from August 21, 1950 listed Giles and Hollyce arriving in New York aboard U.S.Army transport "General Maurice Rose." They arrived from Bremerhaven, Germany, after what appeared to be a vacation.
For the decade beginning in 1960 or so, Giles worked for the Swiss American Aviation Corporation, founded by Register passenger Bill Lear, later known as Learjet, helping to develop the automatic pilot and other instrumentation.
His official online biography (others below) from the U.S. Air Force is as follows:
|Barney McKinney Giles was born in Mineola, Texas in 1892. He and his twin, Benjamin Franklin Giles, both rose to high rank in combat assignments. He attended East Texas College and the University of Texas until World War I when he enlisted as a flying cadet in August 1917. Giles became second lieutenant in April 1918 and flew with the 168th Observation Squadron in France for a year. Giles resigned in September 1919.
One year later he returned to duty as assistant engineering officer, first at the Aviation Repair Depot in Dallas, Texas, and eight months later at San Antonio Air Intermediate Depot. Giles became first lieutenant in April 1921, and remained at San Antonio until July 1924 when he transferred to Kelly Field, Texas, as engineer and operations officer. Giles served as assistant chief at the Maintenance Branch in Fairfield, Ohio, from July 1925 until April 1927 and then as chief of the Maintenance Engineering Branch, Field Service Station at Wright Field, Ohio, from May 1927 until April 1928.
Lieutenant Giles spent the next year as assistant engineering officer and instructor in the Flying Department at March Field, Calif., and in July 1929 became the post engineering officer at the same field. He served as chief engineering officer at Rockwell Air Depot, Calif., from October 1930 until July 1934, becoming captain in January 1932. Giles graduated from the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field, Ala., in June 1935 with advancement to major. Major Giles commanded the 20th Bomb Squadron at Langley Field, Va., for a year and moved up to operations officer of the 2d Bomb Group there in July 1936. After graduation from the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth Kan., in June 1938, he went to Washington, D.C. as chief of the Inspection Division in the Office of the Chief of Air Corps.
Giles was promoted to lieutenant colonel in February 1941, to colonel in January 1942, and to brigadier general in March. General Giles went to Hamilton Field, Calif., in July 1942 where he organized and commanded the 4th Air Service Area Command. Giles received his second star in September 1942. He was named director of military requirements and assistant chief of air staff for operations in March 1943 and chief of Air Staff in July. Giles was appointed lieutenant general in May 1941 and In July was named deputy commander of the Army Air Forces. He went to the China-Burma-India Theater in mid-July and held a conference with commanders to arrive at some agreement on the allocation of Hump tonnage.
General Giles was named commanding general of the Army Air Force in the Pacific areas in April 1945 and was in charge of the final air attacks against Japan. Giles and [Curtis] LeMay planned the strategy of bombing industrial and petroleum targets in Japan. In October Giles became commanding general of the U.S. Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific and held this position until his retirement June 30, 1946.
General Giles' awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster; Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster; Air Medal with oak leaf cluster.
Perhaps Giles' best-known WWII legacy is that he helped develop strategic bombing theory and practice, and he helped develop long-range flight techniques for fighter aircraft in the Pacific. He was also tasked with forging an agreement among commanders in the Chia-Burma-India Theater regarding tonnages to be shipped over The Hump.
Late in WWII he was the commanding general in charge of planning the final B-29 Superfortress attacks against Japan. These plans included those for dropping the atomic bombs. He was present at two key events in the final days: the atomec weapons briefing of President Truman after President Roosevelt died, and he witnessed Japan's surrender aboard the battleship Missouri.
Giles flew West on May 6, 1984, aged 91, in San Antonio. His obituary from the Air Force Times, June 11, 1984 is below.
B.M. Giles Obituary, Air Force Times, June 11, 1984 (Source: NASM)
B.M. Giles Grave Marker, 1984 (Source: findagrave.com)
His grave marker is at right. This photograph was taken sometime before 2000, the year Katherine passed away. They are interred at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, San Antonio, TX.
Compared to many Register pilots, Barney Giles has an excellent Web presence. Numerous Web sites offer photographs, texts and newsreels featuring Giles. Additional information is available at the Together We Served Web site, which lists the educational institutions he attended, the Military Times Wall of Valor project, Traces of War Web site, which lists his awards, and a Getty Images post-war newsreel shows Giles being greeted in Washington, DC by General Hap Arnold after Giles and two other general officers made a B-29 flight from Japan to DC on September 18-19, 1945 with only one stop for fuel. This last link leads to a PDF file (128kB) that described the preparation and execution of the flight. The text of the PDF is from the Gutenberg Project, which includes Giles' biography at this link.
Giles' twin brother, Benjamin Franklin Giles, also served at high level in the Army Air Forces and retired from the military in September 1946 at the rank of major general.
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