The Passing of Major General William (Bill) Bland, Jr., USAF/GA Air National Guard (ret.)

We’ve lost another outstanding career senior military officer, with the passing this past week of Major General Bill Bland (3-18-20).  A native Georgian (Statesboro) and a graduate of Georgia Tech, General Bland enlisted in the GA Air National Guard in 1958.  He was subsequently selected for Air Force pilot training at Moody Air Force Base (Valdosta, GA), receiving his wings there in 1962.

General Bland’s first flying assignment was with the 165th Airlift Wing here in Savannah.  Flying world-wide with the 165th as a command pilot, he amassed over 8,000-hours in the air.  In 1981, he was named the Commander of the 165th, and led our great local wing until 1987.

Following that command, General Bland was assigned as the Deputy Commander of the Air National Guard Readiness Unit at Andrews AF Base (Maryland), a position he held until returning to Georgia to become the Assistant Adjutant General/Air in 1990.  Then a year later, GA Governor Zell Miller appointed the General to become the Adjutant General of Georgia (“TAG”), a huge responsibility, commanding all of GA’s Air and Army Guard forces.  He retired and returned to Savannah in 1999, after over 40-years of distinguished service to the State of Georgia and to our nation.

General Bland was a past Board Chairman of the National Museum of the Mighty 8th Air Force, a founding member of the STARbase Savannah Foundation (national DoD program making STEM classroom experiences available to area 5th graders, taught here at facilities on Hunter Army Airfield), past president of the Savannah Chapter of the Sons of the (American) Revolution, a member of the Air Force Association, the Military Order of World Wars, and a long-time member of Wesley Monumental Methodist Church (Savannah), where he served as a board member for almost two-decades.  And as a special source of life-long personal pride, the General earned the Boy Scouts Eagle badge distinction when he was just 13-years of age.

He was married to his delightful, gracious, and ever-supportive wife, Harriet, for 57-years.  General Bill Bland was an engaging, personable, bright, and articulate leader, both during his command years, and in his retirement community activities, as well.  A truly great member of, and contributor to, America’s fine military legacy.  He will be dearly missed by family, friends, and the Greater Savannah community. Rest well with our Lord, sir.

(Achievements via Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors, Savannah, via Legacy,com).