Joseph J. Nazzaro


Joseph J. Nazzaro
GEN Joseph J Nazzaro.jpg
General Joseph J. Nazzaro
Born(1913-03-21)March 21, 1913
New York City, New York
DiedFebruary 5, 1990(1990-02-05) (aged 76)
Tucson, Arizona[1]
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branchSeal of the United States Department of the Air Force.svg United States Air Force
Years of service1936–1971
RankUS-O10 insignia.svg General
Commands held
  • Pacific Air Forces
  • Strategic Air Command
Battles/warsWorld War II
Cold War

General Joseph James Nazzaro (March 21, 1913 – February 5, 1990) was commander in chief of Pacific Air Forces with headquarters at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, and Commander in Chief, Strategic Air Command.


Lieutenant General Joseph J. Nazzaro with President John F. Kennedy at Dow Air Force Base in 1962.

Nazzaro, son of Italian immigrants, was born in New York, New York in 1913. He grew up in Queens with brother John (Marine Colonel) and sisters Mary and Rose. He attended high school in New York, Millard Preparatory School in Washington, D.C., and graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1936 with a commission as second lieutenant in the Infantry. After graduation from advanced flying school at Kelly Field, Texas in October 1937, he was transferred to the U.S. Army Air Corps.

He then served in the Philippine Islands and from 1940 to 1942, Nazzaro held assignments with the 7th Bombardment Group, Salt Lake City, Utah; 39th Bombardment Group, Geiger Field, Washington, and commanded the 302nd Bombardment Group, Tucson, Arizona.

Early in 1943, Nazzaro was named commander of the 381st Bombardment Group, Pyote, Texas, and led the unit to England in May where it joined the Eighth Air Force. In January 1944, he became deputy director of operations, U.S. Strategic Air Forces in Europe.

In August 1944, Nazzaro returned to the United States and was assigned as deputy commander, 316th Bombardment Wing, Colorado Springs, Colorado. The wing was moved to Okinawa in December 1945, at which time he assumed command.

CINCSAC General Joseph J. Nazzaro with Commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) General Raymond J. Reeves during a visit to NORAD Headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado 1967.

In May 1946, he became chief of the Operations Division, Headquarters Strategic Air Command, Bolling Field, Washington, D.C. Following graduation from the Air Command and Staff School at Maxwell Field, Alabama, Nazzaro became an instructor at the school, a position he held until December 1948. He then returned to Washington, D.C., for duty in the War Plans Division, Directorate of Plans, Headquarters U.S. Air Force.

In August 1952, Nazzaro moved to Lake Charles Air Force Base, Louisiana to take command of the 68th Bombardment Wing. A year later he was named commander of the 38th Air Division, Hunter Air Force Base, Georgia.

In June 1955, Nazzaro was appointed commander of Strategic Air Command's 15th Air Division in Morocco. He returned to the United States in July 1957 and was assigned to U.S. Air Force Headquarters as director of personnel planning.

Commander-in-Chief of The Strategic Air Command General Joseph J. Nazzaro during a visit to Korat Air Force Base, Thailand 1968.

In July 1959, Nazzaro was named deputy commander, Fifteenth Air Force, March Air Force Base, California, and in October 1962, he became commander of the Eighth Air Force, Westover Air Force Base, Massachusetts.

As Commander in Chief, Pacific Air Forces (right), being greeted at Tan Son Nhut Air Base by Gen. George S. Brown, Commander, Seventh Air Force, 1968.

In December 1964, Nazzaro became vice commander in chief of Strategic Air Command, and in February 1967, he was appointed commander in chief. He assumed duties as commander in chief of Pacific Air Forces with headquarters at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, in August 1968.

Nazzaro retired from the Air Force on August 1, 1971 and died of cancer February 5, 1990 at age 76.

Awards and decorations

He was a command pilot, combat observer and aircraft observer. His military decorations include the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Silver Star, Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with oak leaf cluster.


  1. ^ Obituaries: Joseph J. Nazzaro, 76, An Air Force General – New York Times. (1990-02-07). Retrieved on 2011-12-28.

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document: "[1]".

See also

Military offices
Preceded by
Gen. John Dale Ryan
Commander, Strategic Air Command
Succeeded by
Bruce K. Holloway