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Earle Everard "Pat" Partridge enlisted in the U.S. Army in July 1918 at Fort Slocum, NY, and was assigned to the 5th Engineer Training Regiment at Camp Humphries, VA. He went to France in August 1918 to join the 79th Division, and participated in the Battle of Saint-Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. When the division returned to the U.S. in June 1919, he was honorably discharged.
He spent a year at Norwich University and then reenlisted in the Army in June 1920. He received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy and graduated in 1924. At that time, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Army Air Service. Partridge received his flight training at Brooks and Kelly Fields, in Texas. He served with the 3rd Attack Group at Kelly, where he was a flying instructor until September 1929. In 1927, he was an un-credited stunt pilot on the movie ‘Wings;' the first film to ever win the Academy Award for Best Picture. He was promoted to First Lieutenant in December 1928.
Partridge taught mathematics at West Point for a year and then went to the Canal Zone with the 6th Composite Group at France Field. He was promoted to Captain in April 1933 and became Adjutant and Assistant Operations Officer of the 1st Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field, MI, in the spring of 1933. He later served there as Commanding Officer of the 94th Pursuit Squadron.
In mid-July 1936, Partridge became a test pilot at Wright Field, flying many of the planes that were later used in World War II. He completed the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field, AL, and the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, KS. From 1938 to 1940, he was an Instructor at the Air Corps Tactical School, Maxwell Field, AL. He became a Major in March 1940 and helped establish single-engine flying schools at Barksdale Field, LA and Dothan, AL. From 1940 to March 1941, he was Director of the Pursuit Pilot Training School, at Barksdale Field, LA; after March he was at Craig Field, AL until later in 1941 he was Commanding Officer of the Air Corps Advanced Flying School, in Dothan, AL.
Major Partridge was a member of the Air War Plan's Division at Headquarters U.S. Army Air Forces in Washington, DC, from October 1941 until March 1942. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in November 1941. He became a Colonel in March 1942 and a member of the Joint Strategy Committee, Strategy and Policy Group of the War Department General Staff. Partridge was promoted to Brigadier General in December 1942 and appointed Commanding General of the New York Air Defense Wing at Mitchel Field, NY.
In the spring of 1943, Partridge went overseas as Operations Officer for the Northwest African Air Force. He then served as Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations and Training (A-3), XII Bomber Command, Constantine, Algeria; in July 1943 he was Chief of Staff of the XII Bomber Command, Tunis, Tunisia. Next, he was Chief of Staff of the Fifteenth Air Force, then Deputy Commanding General of the Fifteenth Air Force, in Bari, Italy. He moved to High Wycombe, England in January 1944 as Deputy Commander of the Eighth Air Force and became a Major General in May. One month later, he became Commanding General of the 3d Bombardment Division, then Commanding General of the 3d Air Division, both located at Camp Blainey, England. He became Deputy Commanding General of the Eighth Air Force in August 1945, assisting in its reorganization and movement to Okinawa. Later that year, he was Commanding General of the Eighth Air Force, Okinawa.
In January 1946, Partridge returned to Headquarters U.S. Army Air Forces, Washington, DC as Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations. In 1947–48 he was Director of Training and Requirements, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, also in Washington. He went to Nagoya,Japan in October 1948 as Commanding General of the Fifth Air Force and, during that command, he served through the first year of the Korean War from Seoul and at Taegu AB, South Korea. He was promoted to Lieutenant General in April 1951 and assigned as Acting Commanding General of the Far East Air Forces (FEAF), Tokyo, Japan.
On his return to the U.S. in June 1951, Partridge was Acting Commanding General, then Commanding General, of the Air Research and Development Command in Baltimore, MD. In June 1953, he went to Headquarters U.S. Air Force in Washington, DC as Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations.
He went to Tokyo, Japan in April 1954 as a four-star general and became Commander of the Far East Air Forces (FEAF). Partridge returned home in July 1955 and was named Commander of the Air Defense Command, Ent AFB, CO. From 1957–59 he served as Commander-in-Chief of the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD), Ent AFB, CO; his final assignment before retirement. He retired from active duty on 31 July 1959.