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MAJOR GENERAL EDWARD P. MCNEFF (USAF RET.)
Major General Edward P. McNeff peacefully passed away on Wednesday, October 11, 2023. He was 99 years old. General McNeff was born in Camden, N.J., in 1924, to James A. McNeff and Hazel Schinn. He graduated from Audubon High School in Audubon, N.J., in 1942. He enlisted in the U.S. Army and entered aviation cadet training in 1942, and in August 1943 graduated from pilot training at Spence Field, Ga., with a commission as second lieutenant. In January 1944 during World War II, General McNeff joined the 355th Fighter Group of the Eighth Air Force in England. He flew the Republic P-47 and the North American P-51 aircraft on 102 combat missions in the campaigns of Normandy, Rheinland, Ardennes-Alsace, Central Europe, and Northern France. He is credited with destroying 1.5 enemy aircraft in aerial combat. He returned to the United States in September 1945 and was assigned to the Air Training Command and served as flight instructor at Goodfellow and Randolph Air Force bases, TX; Williams Air Force Base, AZ; and lastly at Webb Air Force Base, TX. In October 1950 he began a year of exchange duty with the Naval Air Training Command at Kingsville, TX. During these tours of duty he mainly flew the Lockheed T-33. His tour of duty with the Air Training Command ended in June 1953 when he was transferred to Korea for combat duty with the 51st Fighter Interceptor Wing as an operations officer and flew North American F-86 aircraft. In May 1954 he was assigned to the 1002d Inspector General Group, Norton Air Force Base, Calif., as a flight safety project officer, accident investigator, and aircraft accident analyst. Following this three-year tour of duty, he entered the University of Chicago, under the Air Force Institute of Technology Program, and received a master's degree in business administration in 1958. In January 1959 he was assigned to the 56th Fighter Squadron at O'Hare International Airport, IL., as an operations staff officer where he flew the North American F-86D and in August 1959 assumed command of the 62d Fighter Squadron at K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base, MI and flew the McDonnell F-101. General McNeff returned to the Far East in June 1961 as the Air Force member of the joint staff in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations for the Military Assistance Advisory Group, Taiwan, Republic of China. He returned to the United States in July 1963 and went to George Air Force Base, CA, as operations officer for the 436th Tactical Fighter Squadron, and in April 1964 became deputy commander for operations of the 479th Tactical Fighter Wing. During this tour of duty, he completed the Airborne Parachutist Course at Fort Benning, Ga. In May 1965 he assumed duties as commander of the Combat Crew Training Group at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. During these years he flew the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. In January 1967 General McNeff was transferred to the Republic of Vietnam as vice commander, 35th Tactical Fighter Wing at Phan Rang Air Base. He flew 205 combat missions in F-100 Super Sabre aircraft. In February 1968 he was assigned as commander of the 405th Fighter Wing, Clark Air Base, Republic of the Philippines, with responsibility for providing air defense for the Philippines and Southeast Asia. During this time, he flew the McDonnell F-4 Phantom and the Martin B-57 Canberra in combat over north and south Vietnam. In February 1970 General McNeff was assigned as commander of the 835th Air Division, McConnell Air Force Base, KS. He assumed duties in August 1971 as vice commander of the U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Warfare Center with headquarters at Eglin Air Force Base, FL. General McNeff was assigned as vice commander, Twelfth Air Force with headquarters at Bergstrom Air Force Base, TX, in August 1972. He became vice commander, Fifth Air Force with headquarters at Fuchu Air Station, Japan, in October 1973. His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with 19 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Citation Emblem, and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Silver Star. He was a command pilot with more than 6,700 hours of flying. He was promoted to the grade of major general effective April 2, 1973, with date of rank Aug. 1, 1969. After he retired from the Air Force, General McNeff studied law at Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. He engaged in a private law practice for a number of years. At the age of sixty-five, General McNeff rode his bicycle across the United States from Portland, OR to Cape May, NJ in honor of his son, Tom, who was killed in a helicopter crash after rescuing over thirty people, flying for the AZ Department of Public Safety during the Tucson, AZ floods in October of 1983. In 2001 he was inducted into the New Jersey Aviation Hall of Fame at the Teterboro Airport in Teterboro, New Jersey. General McNeff was an avid bicycle rider along with his daughter, Cathy, and several of his grandchildren. From his late seventies to his early nineties, he participated in the Ride the Rockies four times, the RAGBRAI twice, the Tour de Tucson seven times, the Tour de Phoenix twice, the Pedal the Petrified once, and the Grand Canyon to Mexico once. He also did several long hiking trips including an attempt at completing the Pacific Crest trail that was cut short due to his battle with diabetes. He was also an avid golfer. General McNeff is survived by his present wife, Joan, and four of his children Mike, Matt, Jean, and Cathy. He is also survived by thirteen grandchildren, eighteen great-grandchildren, and three great-great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his son, Tom and his wife, Kay. General McNeff will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The family is asking in lieu of flowers to donate to the local Fire department or Police Department.