Brigadier General Harry Chapman

Published 4:47 pm Thursday, March 28, 2013

RICHMOND, March 28 – Brigadier General Harry Chapman died Wednesday, March 20, 2013 in Richmond. He was born in 1924 in Atlanta, GA.

During World War II in September 1944, he was assigned to the 3616t Fighter Group, Eighth Air Force, and saw combat in the European Theater of Operations. As a fighter pilot, Lt. Chapman flew P-51 Mustangs and received credit for destroying three German aircrafts, one of which was the new jet, ME 262. He flew the Battle of the Bulge.

He returned to the United States in January 1946 and after several short assignments in Florida was transferred in August 1946 to Eglin Field, FL, as a test pilot with the Air Proving Ground Command. In February 1947 he was assigned as assistant operations officer for the 7th Fighter Squadron, 49th Fighter Group, of the Fifth Air Force at Chitose and Misawa Air Bases in Japan.

Email newsletter signup

In July 1949 he became group operations officer for the jet fighter school, the 3525th Pilot Training Wing, at Williams Air Force Base, AZ, where he was a member of the Air Force “Acrojet” Acrobatic Team flying Left Wing in the P-80 Shooting Star formation.

In February 1954 General Chapman was assigned to the newly activated 388th Fighter Bomber Wing, Cannon Air Force Base, NM, as commander, 563d Fighter Bomber Squadron. The Wing went to Etain Air Base, France, in November 1954, and General Chapman became commander of Detachment 1, 388th Fighter Bomber Wing, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, in November 1955.

He returned to the United States in August 1957 and was assigned to the Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL. In April 1960 he was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, DC, as a plans and programs officer in the Far East/Western Hemisphere Section, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations. During 1964 General Chapman attended college at the University of Omaha, where he received his bachelor's degree.

He was assigned to the U.S. Strike Command at MacDill Air Force Base, FL, in August 1964 and served in the Doctrine and Requirements Division, J-5, as plans officer; chief, Concept and Doctrine Division; and chief, Joint Doctrine/Requirements Division. In December 1966 Col. Chapman was assigned as a student at the Imperial Defence College in London, England. He assumed duties as vice commander of the 66th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Upper Heyford, England, in December 1967. During this tour of duty the 17th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron converted from RF-101 to RF-4C aircraft.

In June 1969 he assumed command of the 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, Tan Son Nhut Airfield, Republic of Vietnam. He completed 206 combat missions in the RF-4C aircraft, over half of which were out-country.

General Chapman was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force in the Directorate of Plans, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations, as Deputy Assistant for Joint Matters, in June 1970, and became Assistant Director of Plans for Joint and National Security Council Matters in December 1971. He was transferred to Defense Intelligence Agency to serve as chief of staff effective November 1972.

In October 1973 General Chapman was appointed deputy director for operations (reconnaissance and electronic warfare), Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, DC.

His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with 18 oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, and the Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster. He was a command pilot with more than 5,500 flying hours and 253 combat missions to his credit.

He was promoted to the grade of Brigadier General on June 25, 1971. General and Mrs. Betty Chapman retired to Farmville.

He is survived by his wife, Elisabeth Flynn-Chapman, PhD, of Richmond; son, Christopher Rusch Chapman of Dunlap, TN; daughter, Robin A. Chapman, DVM, of Rutland, MA; grandsons, Alexander Hemann Chapman of Buford, GA, Major Peter Henry Chapman, US Army, Casey Jayne Chapman of Rutland, MA, and Matthew Miller of Rutland, MA and great-granddaughter, Quinn Maria Chapman of Buford, GA. General Chapman is preceded in death by his first wife, Elizabeth (Betty) Rusch Chapman.

Interment with full military honors will be in Arlington National Cemetery, the date to be announced.