Retired Army Gen. Ira C. Eaker, 91, who commanded the famous U.S. 8th Air Force in Britain during World War II and later commanded all Allied air forces in the Mediterranean theater, died yesterday at Malcolm Grow Medical Center at Andrews Air Force Base. He had heart ailments.
Gen. Eaker not only was the first commanding general of the 8th Air Force, but he also led the first raid by American B17 heavy bombers on the European continent, a strike against Rouen, France, on Aug. 17, 1942. In the Mediterranean, he planned the operations in which bombers based in Italy flew against targets in southern Europe, landed in the Soviet Union for refueling and then returned to Italy, and he led the first of these shuttle flights in June 1944.
In August 1944, he flew a fighter plane as part of the cover for the invasion of southern France.
As a planner, Gen. Eaker was a leading proponent of precision daylight bombing against German industrial targets. Winston Churchill, the British prime minister, was skeptical of this program, believing instead that area bombing at night was more effective.
Gen. Eaker persuaded Churchill to withdraw his objections and the American view was incorporated in the Combined Bomber Offensive that was adopted in January 1943. This directive, also known as the "Eaker Plan," stated that U.S. air forces would bomb by day and the Royal Air Force by night. It also set general priorities for targets: submarine construction yards, the aircraft industry, petroleum facilities and transportation.
American B17 and B24 bombers carried out daylight attacks on Germany until the autumn of 1943, when mounting losses forced their curtailment. Daylight raids were not resumed on a large scale until the arrival of new long-range fighter planes that could protect the bombers on such missions.
In January 1944, Gen. Eaker was sent to the Mediterranean to command all Allied air forces. He remained there until April 1945, when he was named deputy commander of the Army Air Forces and chief of the air staff in Washington. He retired on July 31, 1947, a few months before the Air Force came into being as a separate service.
From then until the early 1980s, he pursued a career in business and journalism that was an extension of his military career. From 1947 to 1957, he was a vice president of the Hughes Tool Co. in California with special responsibility for its subsidiary, the Hughes Aircraft Co. He then became a vice president of the Douglas Aircraft Co. and returned to Washington. He also wrote a weekly column on military affairs that appeared in 180 newspapers.
Gen. Eaker's military decorations included the Distinguished Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Legion of Merit, the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross with one Oak Leaf Cluster and the Air Medal.
Ira Clarence Eaker was born at Field Creek, Tex., on April 13, 1896. He graduated from Southeastern Normal School in Durant, Okla., and entered the Army in 1917. He spent the remainder of World War I in Texas and received his pilot's training at that time.
Subsequent assignments took him to the Philippines and to various posts in this country. In 1926 and 1927, he took part as a pilot in the Pan American Flight, a 22,065-mile Air Corps tour of Central and South America. In 1929, he was chief pilot of "The Question Mark," an Air Corps plane that established a world endurance record of 150 hours, 40 minutes and 14 seconds flying over Los Angeles and being refueled in the air.
In 1930, the future general made the first transcontinental flight using in-flight refueling, and, in 1936, he made the first transcontinental flight using instruments alone.
He studied business law at Columbia University and journalism at the University of Southern California. He graduated from the Air Force Tactical School at Maxwell Field, Ala., in 1936 and from the Army Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., in 1937.
With his friend and colleague, Gen. H.H. (Hap) Arnold, the commanding general of all Army Air Forces during World War II, Gen. Eaker wrote three books about air power: "This Flying Game," which appeared in 1936, "Winged Warfare" (1937) and "Army Flyer" (1942).
In August 1941, before the United States became a belligerent, Gen. Eaker was sent to England to observe British fighter plane methods. In February 1942, he was named commander of the 8th Bomber Command in England, the nucleus of the 8th Air Force.
In 1979, Gen. Eaker received a special Gold Medal from Congress for his contributions to aviation. And on April 4, 1985, at the direction of President Reagan and the consent of the Senate, he was promoted to full general on the retired list.
Gen. Eaker's survivors include his wife, Ruth Eaker of Washington.
TROY WALDRON,34, a former Silver Spring resident who for the last 3 1/2 years was a missionary and business manager for the Southern Baptist mission in Ethiopia, died Aug. 4 in a helicopter crash 11 miles northeast of Addis Ababa.
The Southern Baptist Convention said Mr. Waldron and the pilot of the helicopter were killed en route to a drought-stricken area to estimate relief needs.
Mr. Waldron was born in Takoma Park and graduated from Montgomery County's Northwood High School. He attended the University of Maryland. Before he went to Ethiopia he was an independent locksmith in Silver Spring.
Survivors include his wife, Deborah Jewell Waldron, and two sons, Nicholas and Timothy Waldron, all of Addis Ababa, and his mother, Joyce Waldron of Silver Spring.
MARY C. COLLINS,98, a retired legal secretary with the U.S. Court of Claims, died of cardio-respiratory arrest Aug. 6 at the Randolph Hills Nursing Home in Wheaton.
Mrs. Collins was born in Marion, Ohio. She taught in the public schools of Ohio and Oregon before moving to the Washington area in 1918. She was a secretary on the staff of Rep. Nicholas John Sinott (R-Ore.) before joining the Court of Claims in about 1930. She retired in 1960.
She had been a volunteer with Bethesda senior citizen groups.
Her husband, Patrick J. Collins, died in 1940. Survivors include one daughter, Patricia C. Hogan of Silver Spring; one son, Joseph C. Collins of Silver Spring; nine grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-granddaughter.
CARROLL REX BEAHM JR.,63, a Washington native and retired Army major who became a branch manager with First American Bank in Severna Park, died of emphysema Aug. 1 at the Kimbrough Army Hospital at Fort Meade. He lived in Millersville, Md.
Mr. Beahm joined the Army in 1942 and served in the Pacific during World War II. He later had assignments in Texas, West Virginia and New Jersey. He was transferred to the Washington area in 1962 and retired later that year.
For the next 10 years, he lived in Baltimore and worked for the First National Bank of Maryland. He moved to Millersville in 1972 and went to work for First American Bank in Severna Park in 1976. He retired for health reasons in 1983.
He was a member of the American Legion, the Severna Park Baptist Church, and the Retired Officers Association.
Survivors include his wife of 42 years, Wilma McKibben Beahm of Millersville; two sons, Robert H. Beahm of Joppa, Md., and Army Maj. Richard S. Beahm, who is stationed in West Germany; a daughter, Carol E. Turman of Chesapeake, Va.; a sister, Mildred B. Foltz of Falls Church, and two grandsons.
HAROLD WOLKIND,76, a retired Washington area builder and developer who had also been a Commerce Department and Labor Department official, died of pneumonia July 30 at Arlington Hospital.
Mr. Wolkind was in the building and development business here from the 1950s until he retired in 1975, and he was a partner in two companies, Columbia Builders Inc. and Phoenix Properties Inc. The firms specialized in Northern Virginia projects but also operated in Washington and the Maryland suburbs.
A resident of Arlington, Mr. Wolkind was born in New York City. He graduated from Columbia University, where he also received a master's degree in economics and statistics.
During World War II he served in the Army Air Forces.
Mr. Wolkind had been a resident of the Washington area since 1937. At the Commerce Department he had headed divisions responsible for estimating the gross national product and for monitoring construction activity. Before going into the construction business he also headed a division specializing in manpower requirements at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
His wife, Eleanor Wolkind, died in 1974.
There are no immediate survivors.
EDWARD ANDREW WIESINGER,71, a retired official with the Labor Department who also had been a labor adviser with the Agency for International Development, died of cancer Aug. 5 at Fairfax Hospital. He lived in Fairfax.
Mr. Wiesinger was born in Altoona, Pa. He graduated from Pennsylvania State University. During World War II, he served in the Army in Europe and North Africa and was awarded four Bronze Stars.
He went to work at the Labor Department in 1952 and served as a labor adviser in Bonn for two years. He moved to the Washington area in 1954 and joined the State Department. During the late 1950s, he had assignments in France and Tunisia.
Mr. Wiesinger transferred to AID when it was formed in 1961 and was assigned to the Dominican Republic.
He returned to the Labor Department in 1969 and worked in the International Affairs Bureau. He later was assigned as labor director of the U.S. Civil Administration on Okinawa and served on the team that negotiated the return of the island to Japan. He retired from Labor in 1972.
For nearly six years after that, Mr. Wiesinger worked for the Asian-American Free Labor Institute. He retired for the second time in 1978.
Mr. Wiesinger was a member of the Fairfax City Democratic Committee and the Greater Washington Area Trade Union Retirees Club. He had been a volunteer with Travelers Aid at Dulles International Airport.
Survivors include his wife, Sarah Wiesinger of Fairfax; two sons, Stephen Wiesinger of Fairfax and Donald Wiesinger of San Jose; three daughters, Marilyn Martin of Chantilly, Sylvia Murphy of Gainesville, Fla., and Rose Ziglar of State College, Pa.; seven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
RONALD VICTOR JOSEY JR.,41, a former Cheverly resident who was in charge of Caterpillar tractor service representatives in South America, died Aug. 4 in an airplane crash in Calama, Chile.
Chilean authorities said the Lan Chile 737 jet aircraft crashed and burst into flames after a tire blew out during a landing. Mr. Josey was the only one of 33 passengers aboard to be killed. Ten others were injured.
Mr. Josey was born in Riverdale and grew up in Cheverly. He was a graduate of Bladensburg High School and the University of Dayton in Ohio. From 1968 to 1973 he served in the Army, and was discharged as a captain in a Green Beret unit.
After leaving the Army, Mr. Josey joined Caterpillar Corp. He was a service representative in Great Britain and Ireland before he was assigned to Santiago about four years ago.
His marriage to Terricita Quiros Josey ended in divorce.
Survivors include his wife, Gwendoline Smith Josey, and two sons by his second marriage, Phillip and Colyn Josey, all of Santiago; two children by his first marriage, Carla Victoria Josey and Ronald Victor Josey III, both of Washington; his parents, Ronald Victor Josey Sr. and Caroline Ervin Josey, both of Annapolis, and one brother, Stephen Ervin Josey of Timonium, Md.
VIVIAN V. SIMPSON,84, a former Maryland secretary of state who was president of the Montgomery County Bar Association in 1949 and 1950 and vice president of the Maryland State Bar Association in 1958 and 1959, died of heart ailments Aug. 5 at the Carriage Hill nursing home in Bethesda.
Miss Simpson, a resident of Silver Spring and a former resident of Takoma Park, practiced law in Rockville from 1928 until she retired in 1979. With her brother, Joseph B. Simpson Jr., who died in 1976, she was a member of the firm of Simpson & Simpson.
In 1940, she was named to the old Maryland State Industrial Accident Commission, the now Workman's Compensation Commission, by Gov. Herbert R. O'Conor. She served on it until 1947. From 1948 to 1950, she was vice chairman of a commission to study the state's worker compensation laws.
In 1949, Gov. William Preston Lane Jr. appointed Miss Simpson secretary of state. She was the first woman to hold that post and she served until 1951.
Miss Simpson was born in Washington and she graduated from McKinley Technical High School. She attended the University of Maryland and graduated from George Washington University, where she also earned her law degree. In 1950, GWU conferred on her its Alumni Achievement Award for her public service.
Miss Simpson's survivors include one brother, Aubrey G. Simpson of Silver Spring.