John W. Pauly, an Air Force aviator and veteran of two wars who retired in 1980 as commander of Allied Air Forces in Central Europe and commander in chief of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, died Aug. 7 at a hospice center in Colorado Springs. He was 90.
The cause was Alzheimer’s disease, said a daughter, Joanne Bolt.
Gen. Pauly, a command pilot with 6,000 flying hours to his credit, participated in the Berlin airlift after World War II and flew 55 nighttime combat missions during the Korean War. In the early 1960s, he was assistant executive officer to Gen. Curtis E. LeMay, then the Air Force chief of staff. In 1968, Gen. Pauly commanded the 315th Air Commando Wing at Phan Rang Air Base, Vietnam.
In 1969, he was assigned to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where his duties included briefing White House officials on the Vietnam War, and then held command positions of increasing responsibility. His final active-duty assignment was at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Gen. Pauly later was chief executive of Systems Control Technology, a software development company in Palo Alto, Calif.
John William Pauly was a native of Albany, N.Y., and a 1945 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. He received a master’s degree in international relations from George Washington University in 1965. He also was a graduate of the National War College in Washington.
His military decorations included two awards of the Distinguished Service Medal, three awards of the Legion of Merit; two awards of the Distinguished Flying Cross; and five awards of the Air Medal. He was a member of the Army Science Board.
Gen. Pauly had a home in McLean for much of his military career and again in the late 1990s and 2000s.
His first wife, Mary Frances “Bobby” Chatt, whom he married in 1949, died in 1994. His second wife, Lois Rutledge, whom he married in 1998, died in 2007.
Survivors include five children from his first marriage, John Pauly Jr. of Hawaii, retired Air Force Reserve Lt. Col. Richard Pauly of Mandeville, La., Kathleen Donley of Chugiak, Alaska, Joanne Bolt of Colorado Springs and Karen Cooper of Firestone, Colo.; and four grandchildren.
— Adam Bernstein