Founder Spotlight: MAJ GEN CLEMENTS MCMULLEN

Founder Member #15

Charter Member

National Commander, 1952-55

Clements McMullin, born on Feb. 5, 1892, received his wings on March 6, 1918, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Aviation Section of the Signal Reserve Corps.

An extensive write-up of his career can be found at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/47260807/clements-mcmullen. Following are some of the highlights:

…In February 1930, Lieutenants McMullen and W.W. White broke a number of flying records using a Lockheed-Vega monoplane powered by a Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine. They broke the flying record from New York to Buenos Aires, Argentina by flying an estimated 6,870 miles in an official time of 52 hours and 15 minutes; an average speed of 130 miles per hour. In charting their flight, they used a route that also broke the record for flying from New York to Miami, FL. While breaking the New York to Buenos Aires record, they also achieved an aviation first; it was the first time a nonstop flight was made between the U.S. and the Panama Canal. Upon reaching their Argentinian destination, the young aviators were given a hero’s welcome and their exploits were radioed around the world.

…Brilliant at analyzing and solving logistical problems, McMullen also had a knack for foreseeing them. As commander of the Air Depot he submitted proposals for expansions that would become crucial with the advent of World War II. In 1941, he pleaded for reorganization of the Kelly, Duncan, Brooks, and Stinson Air Bases that were all within a few miles of each other near San Antonio. Recognizing the potential danger, he suggested solutions to remedy the problem and a number of them were eventually implemented.

…In October 1948, McMullen became Commanding General of the San Antonio Air Material Area (SAAMA) located at Kelly AFB, TX. On 25 June 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea and SAAMA responded with the Air Force’s top expert in logistics and air materiel at its helm. Within three days, Air Materiel Command (AMC) initiated Project Hold-Off that held back items going to other destinations and gave those items priority for the Far East. The supply personnel at Kelly worked two shifts, seven days a week, and processed all requests for the Far East Air Forces within 24-hours of receipt.

…At the age of 62, McMullen retired on 28 February 1954, after 37 years of active military service. At retirement, he was the oldest active pilot in the U.S. Air Force and in command of the largest air depot in the world (23,463 employees). He was one of the longest-serving local commanders in the history of Kelly AFB and was loved

and admired by the civilian workers and the officers and airmen under his command. His retirement had one of the largest military celebrations in the history of the service. It was attended by thousands of Kelly AFB civilian employees and military personnel, 62 active and retired USAF generals, and 238 city, county and federal, distinguished guests. The US Air Force Band played while 1,800 troops passed in review and an aerial salute flew overhead.

His Air Force biography is at  http://www.af.mil/About-Us/Biographies/Display/Article/108676/major-general-clements-mcmullen/.

Another McMullen website can be found at  http://usafflagranks.com/Major_General_Clements_McMullen.htm.

FACTOID: General McMullen is the namesake of the Weapon System

Maintenance Award. This Daedalian trophy and award is presented annually

to a wing-level Air Force unit determined by Headquarters USAF to have

the best weapon system maintenance record for the preceding calendar year.

Major General McMullen and his four sons

From left, William C. McMullen, Edward Lewis McMullen, the general, Frank McCoy McMullen and Thomas Henry McMullen.

Click on any of the images below to view the complete documents in pdf format.

“All in a day’s work.”
A letter from General McMullen to
Brig. Gen. W.W. Welsh on Feb. 5, 1952

General McMullen’s final message
as Daedalian national commander
on April 14, 1956

General McMullen’s obituary
from the Daedalus Flyer
1959