Col. Julius Kahn Lacey was the second Commander of the 384th Bomb Group from September 6, 1943 to November 23, 1943. He was a temporary replacement for Col. Peaslee.
Julius Kahn Lacey was born in Elizabethton, Tennessee on September 18, 1904. He grew up in Tennessee and graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering.
In February 1929, he enlisted in the military as a flying cadet and entered Primary Flying School at Brooks Field, Texas. In February 1930, he graduated from Advanced Flying School at Kelly Field, Texas. He was appointed second lieutenant in the Air Reserves.
In May 1930, he received his regular army commission orders and reported to Selfridge Field, Michigan, where he served with the 17th Pursuit Squadron. He later served with the 57th Service Squadron.
In August 1931, he entered the Air Corps Technical School at Chanute Field, Illinois. Following graduation in June 1932, he was assigned to the Fifth Observation Squadron at Mitchel Field, New York.
Before leaving for New York in 1932, Julius Lacey married Page Denman Browne (born April 23, 1913 in San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas) in Champaign, Illinois.
In January 1934, Lacey served with the Eastern Zone Army Air Corps air mail operation out of Langley Field, Virginia. In May, he returned to Mitchel Field, serving with the Ninth Observation Group.
In September 1934, he enrolled in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After graduation in June 1936 with a master’s degree in meteorology, Lacey went to Norway and Germany to study weather conditions and research aircraft icing.
Lacey returned to Langley Field in September 1936 as base meteorological officer. He put the new Weather Service into place for the Air Corps. It was Lacey who proposed transferring the meteorological service from the Signal Corps and he planned and formulated the new organization.
In March 1937, he became the meteorological officer of the Second Wing of the Air Corps. Three months later, he assumed command of the Second Weather Squadron and was regional control officer of the Second Weather Region.
In December 1939, he graduated from a four-month course at the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field in Alabama, and then returned to Langley Field.
In 1940, Lacey was selected to survey port facilities and possible locations for air bases in Greenland. By December, he assumed command of the Fourth Weather Region at Maxwell Field, Alabama.
In August 1941, Lacey was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Air Corps and in January 1942, he became Deputy Director of the Weather Service.
In 1942, he was sent to Europe to analyze meteorological problems that affected the Royal Air Force and US Bomber Command.
In 1943, Lacey commanded the Provisional Group at Boise Air Base, Idaho, and then assumed command of the 103rd Combat Wing at Walla Walla Air Base in Washington.
In the latter part of 1943, Lacey went to England where he commanded the 384th Bomb Group for about three months from September 6 to November 23, replacing Colonel Budd Peaslee.
Following his command of the 384th, Brigadier General Julius Lacey was given command of the 94th Bombardment Wing, which was officially activated on December 12, 1943. The Wing was comprised of the 351st Bomb Group, 401st Bomb Group, and 457th Bomb Group. Lacey commanded the wing until June 1945.
In July 1945, Lacey went on to command the 15th Bombardment Training Wing, and then the Second Air Force from November 1945 to February 1946. (One source alternately states Lacey’s service at this time as: in July 1945, he became Deputy Commander for Operations and Training of the Second Air Force at Colorado Springs, Colorado).
In June 1946, Lacey entered the National War College at Washington, D.C. He graduated a year later and was appointed Commandant of the Air Tactical School, Tyndall Field, Florida.
In 1950, General Lacey joined the Air Training Command and assumed command of Mather Air Force Base, California and the 3535th Bomb Training Wing there.
In February 1952, Lacey was appointed combat crew training Air Force project officer at ATRC headquarters, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, and assumed command of the Crew Training Air Force, ATRC, at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, in March.
In October 1953, Lacey transferred to Far East Air Forces, and became Vice Commander of the Fifth Air Force. He was named special assistant to the commander, FEAF, on May 5, 1954. On July 15, 1954 he was appointed J-3, Far East Command, FEAF, and on April 26, 1955 became Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans, FEAF.
General Lacey returned to the United States in November 1955, and was appointed Commandant, USAF Institute of Technology, Air University, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. He retired in 1957 as a US Air Force Major General.
Julius Lacey’s decorations include the Silver Star with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters, and the French Legion of Honor and Croix de Guerre with Palm.
Julius Kahn Lacey died in July 5, 1992 in San Antonio, Bexar, Texas. He is buried in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas, Plot: Section 4 Site 25-A. He also has a cenotaph memorial at Lacey Cemetery in Carter County Tennessee. His wife Page died less than a year later on April 1, 1993 and is buried beside him.
Note: Also buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery is Robert Fish, fifth commander of the 384th Bomb Group.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2016