Wings of a Patriot: The Air Force Legacy of Major General Don D. Pittman
History provides many notable examples of individuals rising above tragedy to accomplish great things in their lives, never allowing worry or regret to prevent them from seizing an opportunity. The life of the late Don D. Pittman serves as an ideal example of someone who refused to falter when faced with a challenge and, through perseverance, went on to serve in several key positions in the U.S. Air Force during the Cold War. Born on Halloween of 1925, Pittman's mother passed away in childbirth and his father soon left town, leaving the infant boy to be raised by his grandparents in Jefferson City, Missouri. He would go on to graduate from a local Catholic high school and enlist as an aviation cadet in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. Earning his wings as a transport pilot, he participated in relief flights during the famed Berlin Airlift before making the transition to jet aircraft and later completing two tours as a command pilot in the Vietnam War. Demonstrating his capacity for leadership, Pittman ascended through the officer ranks, eventually commanding U.S. Air Forces, Korea and the 24th NORAD Region. When his thirty-five year career ended in 1978, he had achieved the esteemed rank of two-star general. Major General Pittman's service characterizes the dedication of a member of the "Greatest Generation" -- a patriotic citizen whose life was defined by accomplishment and, through his uniformed service, ascended hardship and misfortune to achieve great success in his military career.