Quesada, Elwood Richard “Pete”, born 13-04-1904 in Washington D.C. to an Irish-American mother and a Spanish father. “Lope” Lopez Quesada, and Helen A. McNamara. After High School at Wyoming Seminary in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Quesada attended the University of Maryland and Georgetown University before leaving college to enlist in the Air Service in 1924. Quesada grew up alongside aviation. World War I forced its participants to build new kinds of airplanes capable of dealing with new kinds of warfare. Quesada went through flight training soon after that war, in 1920s Jenny biplanes. He also absorbed the idea that new technology and equipment could be used to tactical advantage. In January 1929, Quesada flew aboard Captains Carl Andrew “Jooey” Spaatz
famous “Question Mark,” the Anthony Fokker C-2A
whose nonstop five-day, 11.000-mile journey included 37 mid-air fuel and supply transfers. This voyage strengthened Quesada’s conviction that cooperation between air and ground operations was key to military success. The young officer refined his ideas in a variety of staff positions, then put them into practice in World War II. Promoted to Brigadier General in December 1942, Quesada took the First Air Defence Wing to Africa to participate in several campaigns. Transferred to England to take over the IX Fighter Command , Quesada used new communications technologies to gain control over aircraft in combat.During the winter of 1943/44 IX Fighter Command expanded at an extraordinary rate so that by the end of May 1944, its complement ran to 45 flying groups operating some 5.000 aircraft. Initial missions from England consisted of fighter sweeps over troop concentrations and attacks on enemy positions and airfields, primarily on German Fifteenth Army under General Hans von Salmuth units in the Pas-de-Calais region of France as well as around Normandy and Cotentin Peninsula. On D-Day IX Fighter Command units carried out massive air attacks on German forces in Normandy area with P-51 Mustang and P-47 Thunderbolt fighter-bombers. Air cover during the morning amphibious assault by Allied forces on the beaches of France was flown by P-38 Lightnings. Quesada took General Dwight Eisenhower on a battlefield tour in a modified fighter plane to show Ike how radios and radar could affect air-to-ground operations. On D-Day plus one, Quesada established an headquarters on the Normandy beachhead, and directed aerial cover and support for the Allied invasion.
Lieutenant General Quesada retired from active duty on 31-10-1951. In 1957, he became President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Special Adviser for Aviation
. Here second from right drafted policy and served as first head of the Federal Aviation Agency from 1958-1961
Death and burial ground of Quesada, Elwood Richard “Pete”.
Lieutenant General [retired] Elwood Richard Quesada, a WW II fighter pilot who became the first head of the Federal Aviation Administration, died yesterday 09-02-1993 at Jupiter Hospital in Jupiter, Fla. He was 88 and lived in Hobe Sound, Fla. His family said he died of heart failure and was buried, togehter with his wife Kate who died age 86 on 05-03-2003, with full military honors in Section 30 (Grave 439) of Arlington National Cemetery.