LeMay, Curtis Emerson (1906–1990), a United States Air Force officer. He was a pioneer in the concept of strategic bombing, employing it both in Europe and in the Pacific during World War II. LeMay later was commanding general of the Strategic Air Command (SAC), 1948–57; vice chief of staff of the Air Force, 1957–61; and chief of staff, 1961–65. In 1968 he ran for Vice President on the American Independent party ticket, which was headed by George Wallace.
LeMay was born in Columbus, Ohio, and attended Ohio State University. He joined the Army as a flying cadet in 1928. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1930.
During World War II, LeMay headed a bomber command of the Eighth Air Force based in Great Britain, 1942–45. There he introduced straight-line, block-formation bombing. LeMay, a colonel when the war began, advanced to brigadier general in 1943 and to major general in 1944. In 1945 he was transferred to the Pacific, where he again headed a bomber command. In the offensive against Japan, LeMay revolutionized strategic bombing by initiating low-level, night incendiary raids against industrial centers. Fewer planes were lost, accuracy was greater, and less fuel was needed.
After the war, LeMay became Air Force deputy chief of staff for research and development. He was Air Force commanding general in Europe, 1947–48, and directed the Berlin Airlift. LeMay became a four-star general in 1951. He retired in 1965.
LeMay's autobiography, Mission with LeMay, was published in 1965.