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Lt. General Selmon Wells’ Uniform


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One of my favorite items.

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The dress uniform (with Theater Made Ribbons) of Lt Gen. Selmon Willard “Jim” Wells, who, among many other things, served as Inspector General of the United States Air Force from 1969-1971.

 

Wells began his 30+ year career with the US Air Force in late 1941.After earning his Pilot Wings in 1942, he was immediately deployed with the 312th BG to the Southwest Pacific area. He was initially squadron commander in the 389th BS, and was eventually promoted to Group Commander. During the course of WWII, he would fly a total of 140 missions in the famed A-20 Havoc bomber, as well as flying several late war missions in the experimental B-32 bomber.

 

In November of 1945, after more than proving his worth as a pilot and as a leader, Wells was named Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence of the Fifth Bomber Command HQ.

 

Later, he would return to the US in 1946 to become the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence of the 12th Air Force. After this, in 1949, he became the Operations Officer for the 22nd BG, where he would fly in 17 combat missions over Korea in that capacity, further proving his superb aviation and leadership skills in combat.

 

In 1953 his assignment changed to being Deputy Commander of the 9th Bombardment Wing. Wells would retain similar levels of command in different Bomb Groups for the rest of his career, until 1969, when he would be promoted to Lieutenant General and assigned as the Inspector General of the USAF, a position he would hold until 1971. It must be noted that before his promotion to Lt Gen., he volunteered to fly in several combat missions in B-52 and KC-135 bombers and aerial refuelers over Vietnam.

 

Wells would later retire after a distinguished career that involved combat service in three different wars, 30+ years, and over 10,000 hours of logged flight time.

 

He would later pass away at the age of 94 in 2010, when his death would be formally announced by the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, a highly distinguished honor, and a fitting tribute to a hero of Wells’ stature.

 

The awards he amassed throughout his distinguished career include:

 

The Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the Army Distinguished Service Medal, three Legion of Merits, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Bronze Star, eight Air Medals, four Army Commendation Medals, a Purple Heart, two Presidential Unit Citations, an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, the American Defense Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the WWII Victory Medal, the Army and Air Force Occupation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, eight Air Force Longevity Awards, the Philippine Liberation Medal, the UN Korean Service Medal, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.cec9fa56f70a5ec8b3262c46e1eafde3.jpg

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