Brigadier General Keith L. Christensen
Keith Christensen, 77
He entered the Army Air Corps in 1943, serving primarily as an operations officer and was the pilot for and later administrative assistant to the then General of the Army, Dwight D. Eisenhower, at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe. In September 1968 General Christensen was transferred to the Republic of Vietnam as vice commander and later was commander of the 483rd Tactical Airlift Wing, at Cam Ranh Bay Air Base.
He is survived by his wife, Millie Christensen of Carlsbad; son and daughter-in-law Steve and Noreen Christensen of Bow, N.H.; daughters and sons-in-law Vicki and Bob DeFelice of Prairieville, La., and Candy and Wade Moffat of West Hills; mother Merle Christensen of Murray, Utah; brother Duane Christensen of Murray, Utah; sisters Kay Dudley of Murray and Lorene Moore of Mesa, Ariz.; stepsons Kirk and Craig Wheeler of San Diego; and stepdaughter and son-in-law Remle and Mark Bonner of Lake Forest. Private interment will be held at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. El Camino Memorial Encinitas Chapel is handling arrangements.
Retired May 1, 1976
Brigadier General Keith L. Christensen was vice commander of the Twenty-first Air Force (Military Airlift Command), with headquarters at McGuire Air Force Base, N.J.
General Christensen was born in Redmond, Utah, in 1925. He graduated from Granite High School, Salt Lake City, Utah, received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Maryland, in 1963, and a master's degree from The George Washington University, in 1964.
He entered the U.S. Army Air Corps in February 1943, earned his pilot wings and commission as second lieutenant through the aviation cadet program at Luke Field, Ariz., in August 1944, where he remained as an instructor pilot.
In June 1946 General Christensen went to Japan where he served as air ground liaison officer with the 610th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron; in November 1946 was assigned as assistant operations officer, 315th Composite Wing; and in August 1948 became an operations officer with the 315th Air Division at Itazuke Air Base. In July 1949 he was assigned to the 3415th Technical Training Wing, Lowry Air Force Base, Colorado.
General Christensen was selected by General of the Army Dwight Eisenhower in December 1950, to be his administrative assistant. He accompanied General Eisenhower in January 1951 to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe in Paris. In addition to his administrative duties, he served as first pilot of General Eisenhower's aircraft, a C-121 Constellation.
In June 1954 he was assigned as operations officer with the 1611th Air Transport Group at McGuire Air Force Base, N.J. He attended the Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., from September 1958 to July 1959.
General Christensen next served in the Directorate of Operational Requirements, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. In August 1963 he entered the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, where he concurrently completed studies for a master's degree in international affairs.
In July 1964 he returned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as executive to the deputy chief of staff, plans and operations, and in April 1968 became special assistant for policy and information.
In September 1968 General Christensen was transferred to the Republic of Vietnam as vice commander and later was commander of the 483rd Tactical Airlift Wing, at Cam Ranh Bay Air Base.
General Christensen was appointed vice commander of the 438th Military Airlift Wing at McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., in April 1970, and became commander in September 1970. He was assigned as chief, European/Middle East/African Division, with the Directorate of Plans and Policy (J-5), Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in June 1972.
General Christensen became assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, Military Airlift Command, at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., in July 1974. He assumed duties as vice commander, Twenty-first Air Force at McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., in July 1975.
His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with
three oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with three
oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Republic of
Vietnam Air Force Honor Medal, 1st Class. He was a command pilot with more
than 12,000 flying hours.