Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Karl Truesdell Jr., 70, who was attached to the Office of the Secretary of Defense here after World War II, died of congestive heart failure Tuesday in Phoenix. He had flown many missions over Europe.
During World War II, Gen. Truesdell led an 8th Air Force B17 group that carried out the first daylight bombardment of Berlin.
Among the missions he led was a flight of B17s and P51 escorts that dropped supplies to beleaguered Polish patriots fighting the Germans on the streets of Warsaw in September 1944.
The mission was ordered after anti-Communist polish underground forces had risen in August, hoping to receive aid from the advancing Soviet armies. The Germans eventually squelched the revolt while the Russians, according to historians, lay idle just across the Vistula River.
Gen. Truesdell later won the Legion of Merit for initiating plans for ferrying aircraft to the Pacific theater.
He also held the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross and many other decorations, and was one of the few high ranking officers to hold World War II commands in both the European and Pacific theaters.
From 1951 to 1955 he was attached to the Office of the Secretary of Defense here, and served on key posts on several North Atlantic Treaty Organization committees in the formative years of that body.
Gen. Truesdell assumed command in 1960 of the 12th Air Force, based in Waco, Tex. On retirement from the Air Force in 1963 he became special assistant to the president of Continental Airlines, overseeing installation of airstrips throughout the South Pacific and Far East, including Vietnam. He retired from Continental in 1967.
Gen. Truesdell, whose late father was an Army major general, was born in Plattsburg, N.Y., attended George Washington University here and graduated from West Point in 1933.
In addition to his wife, Lavinia, of the home in Phoenix, survivors include two sons, Karl III, also of Phoenix, and John, of Vienna, an Army major, and three grandchildren.
The family suggests expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Phoenix chapters of the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association.