Army Aviation Hall of Fame 1974 Induction
(Inducted to represent the 1950-1959 period.)
Brigadier General (later Lieutenant General) William Beehler Bunker was commissioned in the Cavalry upon graduation from West Point in 1934. Even though he never received a rating as an Army Aviator, in 1950 his career became inextricably involved with Army Aviation. He authored a report to the Chief of Transportation that convinced the Army of the intrinsic value of the helicopter in logistical roles.
This report resulted in the large scale procurement of cargo helicopters by the Army and earned General Bunker the appellation, "Father of the Helicopter," from his Army contemporaries. He accurately envisioned the very important logistical role of helicopters as complements to ground transport vehicles and established the philosophical basis for airmobile logistics within the U.S. Army.
Later, as Assistant Chief of Transportation [Army Aviation], General Bunker continued to work toward the perfection of an airmobile logistical system and was largely responsible for the Army's procurement of CV-2 Caribou aircraft. He was the force behind the transfer of aviation maintenance proponency from the Ordnance Corps to the Transportation Supply and Maintenance Command where he developed and established sophisticated procurement and logistics systems for Army Aviation. In later assignments as both Comptroller and DCG, Army Materiel Command, he continued to emphasize his strong belief in the great importance of cargo helicopters to the success of airmobile logistics. He died in 1969 while serving as the DCG, Army Materiel Command.