MajGen. Wiley Duncan Ganey, USAF [Andalusia Native 1907-1982]
Author: John Vick
As far as we can tell, Major General Wiley D Ganey, USAF. is the highest ranking military officer from Andalusia and Covington County.
Wiley D Ganey, was born in 1907 in Andalusia to Walter Dunklin Ganey and Minnie Walker Ganey. He attended Andalusia Schools and was Valedictorian of his graduating class in 1925. Prior to graduation, Ganey joined the Headquarters Detachment, 55th Machine Gun Squad of the local National Guard unit in 1924. After graduation, he attended Marion Military and then enrolled at the University of Florida for a year. In 1926, Ganey received an appointment to the US Military Academy at West Point. After graduating from West point in 1930, Ganey was appointed a 2nd Lt. in the Field Artillery. In the fall of 1930, Ganey began flight training at Brooks and Kelly Fields in Texas. Upon completing the Advanced Flying School of the Army Air Corps at Kelly Field, San Antonio, Tx, 2nd Lt. Ganey was assigned to the Second Observation Squadron, at Nichols Field, Philippine Islands.
In 1935, Ganey entered the Air Corps Technical School at Chanute Field, Ill. He graduated a year later and remained there as maintenance engineer and armaments officer.
In 1937, he was assigned to the Army Air Forces Technical Training Command at Lowry Field, Co. Five years later, he became executive officer of the Lincoln Army Air Base in Lincoln, Ne. In 1943, Ganey became the air inspector at San Francisco, Ca for a short time before assuming the same position at Colorado Springs, Co.
Ganey’s first command was when he helped organize and then commanded the 498th Bomb Group at Clovis, Nm. In 1944. The command undertook combat training at Great Bend Army Air Field in Kansas. The unit was then moved to Saipan in the Marianas Islands. From there, Ganey led his B-29 bombing group on 21 missions over Japan. On one such mission Ganey was quoted “The sky looked like a B-29 training school. Superfortresses were everywhere. I saw a column of smoke 15,000 ft. high and a quarter mile wide, rising over target.” Ganey’s bombing group was part of a 400 plane assault on the Kawanishi plane plant, numerous air fields, and oil storage facilities at Tokuyama, Otake and Oshima in Japan. Not a US plane was lost.
In Aug 1945, , Ganey was assigned to the staff of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, representing the Air Force for the signing of the Japanese surrender. In Dec 1945, he returned to the US
where he was assigned to the joint Army-Navy Task Force One for “Operation Crossroads”. This operation was the code name for the atom bomb test at Bikini Atoll in July 1946. Col. Ganey was designated as Air Operations Officer.
In September of that year, Ganey returned to Alabama to attend the Air War College at Maxwell AFB. After graduation in June 1947, Col. Ganey was assigned to Air Force Headquarters as Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations in Washington. The next year he was named as the assistant to that office in charge of atomic energy.
In 1949, Ganey transferred to the Strategic Air Command [SAC] where he was named Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, for the 15th Air Force Headquarters, Colorado Springs, Co.
In May 1950, Col. Ganey assumed Command of the 22nd and 44th Bomb Wings, as part of SAC’s establishment of the 12th Air Division Headquarters at March AFB in California. Shortly after the outbreak of hostilities in Korea, Col. Ganey was assigned as Deputy for Operations, for the Far East Bomber Command headed by MajGen. Emmett O’Donnell. During his time there, Ganey organized combat operations from both Japan and Okinawa and was liaison for Far East Air Force Headquarters and Headquarters, Commander of United Nations Forces. Ganey received his 2nd Legion of Merit award for his work there. During his assignment in the far east, Col. Ganey flew 5 missions in B-29s, including a large “saturation” attack on enemy troops massed along the Kaktong River.
The Aug 9, 1951 edition of the Andalusia Star-News noted that Col. Wiley D Ganey, had won his star as a Brigadier General. The paper noted that the City of Andalusia was planning a civic dinner to honor Gen. Ganey later that fall. Andalusia attorneys, Albert Rankin and William H Albritton [an AHS classmate of Ganey’s] are in charge of the dinner.
From March to November 1952, Gen. Ganey was Commander, Far East Air Forces Bomber Command. In December, he assumed Command of the 602nd Air Division, 15th Air Force [SAC] located at Smoky Hill AFB, Salinas, Ks. In 1954, Gen. Ganey became Director of Operations under the Deputy Chief of Staff, Air Force Headquarters, Washington, DC.
In 1955, Gen. Ganey was assigned as Deputy Commandant at the National War College in Washington.
Gen. Ganey served as Commander of Technical Training at Keesler AFB in Gulfport, Ms for a time before he was assigned to Randolph AFB, Tx. as Assistant Vice Commander for the Air Force Training Command. The training command at Randolph AFB was the largest of all the major Air Force Commands. The command was also responsible for Air Force recruiting.
In 1959, Gen. Ganey was assumed command of the Technical Training Center at Chanute AFB in Illinois. He remained there until his retirement in July 1960.
Gen. Ganey had married Genevieve Dean of Virginia in 1953. After his retirement, the Ganeys, including a son, Wiley D Ganey, Jr. moved to Utah. Gen. Ganey became a senior executive with Thiokol Chemical Corp., a manufacturer of solid rocket fuel components. His work at Chanute had included work on the Jupiter and Minuteman missiles.
In 1961, the Ganeys moved to Santa Monica, Ca. where he became an executive with the Douglas Aircraft Co.
Retired Major General Wiley D Ganey died in July 1982 and is buried at the United States Military Academy Post Cemetery. His wife Genevieve died in 2004. There son, Wiley D Ganey, Jr. still resides in California.