Power, Thomas S. (Thomas Sarsfield), 1905-

Alternative names

Hide Profile

Air Force officer.

From the description of Reminiscences of Thomas S. Power : oral history, 1960. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122619630

Thomas Sarsfield Power (1905-1970 was an American military officer who served as both Vice-Commander and Commander-in-Chief of the Strategic Air Command. Born on June 18, 1905 in New York City, he graduated from Barnard School for Boys and entered the Air Corps flying school in 1928, receiving his commission as a second lieutenant in 1929. Early assignments took him to famed air corps fields of the day, including Chanute, Langley and Randolph Fields, where he served as an air mail pilot, a flying instructor and an engineering and armament officer.

In World War II Power saw combat as a B-24 pilot in North Africa and Italy, and in 1944 he was named commander of the 304th Bomb Wing on Guam. He led the first large-scale fire bomb raid on Tokyo in March 1945, initiating new tactics that resulted in massive destruction in the Japanese cities. He served as Deputy Chief of Operations under General Carl Spaatz during the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

After the war, Power was named as assistant deputy task force commander for air during the "Operation Crossroads" atomic bomb test at Bikini Atoll. He also served for a time in Washington and London. In 1948 he was named Vice Commander in Chief of the Strategic Air Command, serving under General Curtis E. LeMay, his former commander in the raids on Japan. In 1954 he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general. He was in charge of the Air Research and Development Command from 1954-1957. In 1957 Power succeeded LeMay as Commander in Chief of Strategic Air Command, a post which he filled for seven years. As head of the U.S. nuclear strike force, including over 1,000 nuclear-armed bombers and hundreds of Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles, he was never far from the "red phone" connections that could bring him orders from the president to go to war.

During his military career, Power was an outspoken proponent of nuclear deterrence, a policy of peace through the achievement of overwhelming nuclear superiority. He favored patriotism, preparedness, and a tough policy toward the Communist enemy. His views on the nuclear strategy were incorporated in a book in 1958, but Secretary of Defense Neil McElroy refused to clear the draft for publication. As a result, Power gained fame in conservative circles as the author of a "banned" book. He was the sole military man to testify against the nuclear test ban treaty before a Senate investigating committee in 1963.

Upon his retirement in 1964, Power was named board chairman of Schick, Inc., with whom he was affiliated for six years. After extensive revision, his book was published in 1965 under the title Design for Survival . It spent a few weeks on the bestseller lists and helped to make Power much in demand on the lecture circuit, where he called for nuclear superiority and victory in Vietnam. He served on a Veterans for Nixon group for the 1968 presidential campaign. Thomas Power married Mae Ayre in 1936. They had no children. Power died on December 6, 1970.

From the guide to the Thomas S. Power Papers, 1928-1970, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn White, Thomas D. (Thomas Dresser), 1901-1965. Papers of Thomas D. White, 1952-1961 (bulk 1957-1961) Library of Congress
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. GENERAL POWER FLYING B-52G, OFFUTT AFB, NEBRASKA
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. VIPS VISIT WIESBADEN AB
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. AWARDS PRESENTATION
referencedIn Papers, 1920-1971. Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS PRESENTATION TO MRS. MILBURN G APT, EDWARDS AFB, CALIFORNIA, 20 MARCH 1957
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. PRESIDENT KENNEDY VISITS HOMESTEAD AFB
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. FIRST ATLAS LAUNCH
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. B-58 STOCK FOOTAGE, FORT WORTH, TEXAS, 1956 AND 1957
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. CREW OF B-58 GREASED LIGHTNING RECEIVING DFC MEDAL FROM GEN THOMAS S. POWER
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. PRESIDENT GOULART VISITS SAC
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. TAC OPERATIONS, HOMESTEAD AFB
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. VANDENBERG MILESTONES
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. SENATOR GOLDWATER (SELECTIONS)
creatorOf Power, Thomas S. (Thomas Sarsfield), 1905-1970. Reminiscences of Thomas S. Power : oral history, 1960. Nolan, Norton & Company, Incorporated
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. DEDICATION OF VANDENBERG AFB
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. GENERAL POWER RECEIVES DSM FROM PRESIDENT JOHNSON, WASHINGTON, D.C
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. HIGHLIGHTS OF VANDENBERG AFB DEDICATI0N (VANDENBERG AFB CALIFORNIA, 5 OCTOBER 1958)
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. MAJOR ANDERSON'S FUNERAL SERVICES, GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA, 6 NOVEMBER 1962
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. MAJOR RUDOLPH ANDERSON, JR. RECEIVES THREE AWARDS POSTHUMOUSLY
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. PRESIDENT KENNEDY VISITS SAC HEADQUARTERS
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. PRESIDENT KENNEDY VISITS SAC HEADQUARTERS
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. HIGHLIGHTS OF VANDENBERG AFB DEDICATION
referencedIn Thomas D. White Papers, 1952-1961, (bulk 1957-1961) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. FIRST ATLAS MISSILE LAUNCH
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. PROJECT SKY ROCKET, PRESIDENT KENNEDY VISITS VANDENBERG AFB
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. OPERATION HEAT RISE B-58 TRANSCONTINENTAL RECORD RUN
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. INSTITUTE OF AEROSPACE SCIENCE (IAS) BRIEFING TOUR, OFFUTT AFB, NEBRASKA, 17 MAY 1961
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. PRESIDENT KENNEDY VISITS HOMESTEAD AFB
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. SAC CHANGE OF COMMAND
creatorOf Thomas S. Power Papers, 1928-1970 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. TAC OPERATIONS, HOMESTEAD AFB
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. AFA CONVENTION, WASHINGTON D. C. AND ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. VISIT OF THE CHIEF OF STAFF, UNITED STATES AIR FORCE, AND MAJOR AIR COMMANDERS TO THE AIR FORCE MISSILE TEST CENTER PATRICK AFB, FLORIDA, 30 SEPTEMBER - 1 OCTOBER 1957
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. FIRST ATLAS LAUNCH, VANDENBERG AFB, CALIFORNIA, 9 SEPTEMBER 1959
referencedIn Richard Clark Lindsay Papers, 1929-1961 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. COMBAT CREW BRIEFING BY GEN. THOMAS S. POWER AND STAFF
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. ARMY SECRETARY ELVIS J. STARR, Jr. VISITS SAC
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. ATLAS JOINS THE STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ROBERT S MCNAMARA TOURS SAC HQ
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. PRESIDENT JOHNSON AND NATO SECRETARY GENERAL BROSIO VISIT SAC HEADQUATERS, OFFUTT AFB, NEBRASKA
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. PRESIDENT KENNEDY VISITS HOMESTEAD AFB
referencedIn Baker Street Irregulars (Organization : U.S.) archive, 1923-2007. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE COMMANDERS CONFERENCE
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. PRESENTATION OF DSM TO GEN, BRADLEY AND MONEY TREE TROPHY TO GEN. POWER, PENTAGON
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. ARRIVAL OF JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. GENERAL WHITE AND ADVISORY COMMITTEE VISIT USAF ACADEMY
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. DEDICATION OF CHENNAULT AFB
referencedIn Thomas D. White Papers, 1945-1961 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Security Council. corporateBody
correspondedWith Baker Street Irregulars (Organization : U.S.). corporateBody
associatedWith Buckley, William F. (William Frank), 1925- person
associatedWith Clay, Lucius D. (Lucius DuBignon), 1897-1978 person
associatedWith Curtis, Carl T. (Carl Thomas), 1905- person
associatedWith Douglas, Donald W. (Donald Willis), 1892-1981 person
associatedWith Eaker, Ira, 1896-1987 person
associatedWith Foss, Joe, 1915-2003 person
associatedWith Godfrey, Arthur, 1903-1983 person
associatedWith Goldwater, Barry, 1938- person
associatedWith Hruska, Roman L. (Roman Lee), 1904- person
associatedWith Kintner, William R. (William Roscoe), 1915- person
associatedWith Leach, W. Barton (Walter Barton), 1900- person
associatedWith Leish, Kenneth W., person
associatedWith LeMay, Curtis E. person
associatedWith Lemnitzer, Lyman L. (Lyman Louis), 1899- person
associatedWith Lindsay, Richard C. (Richard Clark) person
associatedWith McNamara, Robert S., 1916- person
associatedWith Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913-1994 person
associatedWith Reagan, Ronald. person
associatedWith Spellman, Francis, 1889-1967 person
associatedWith Spivak, Lawrence E. (Lawrence Edmund), 1900- person
associatedWith Symington, Stuart, 1901- person
associatedWith Thomas, Lowell, 1892-1981 person
associatedWith Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972 person
associatedWith Twining, Nathan F. (Nathan Farragut), 1897-1982 person
associatedWith United States. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Army Air Forces. corporateBody
associatedWith Wallace, DeWitt, 1889-1981 person
correspondedWith White, Thomas D. (Thomas Dresser), 1901-1965. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
United States
Subject
Deterrence (Strategy)
World War, 1939-1945--Aerial operations
Aeronautics, Military--United States
Arms race
Aviation
Occupation
Air pilots--United States
Function
Aeronautics

Person

Birth 1905-06-18

Death 1970-12-07

English

Information

Permalink: http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6n88gbs

Ark ID: w6n88gbs

SNAC ID: 39903743