The Department of Defense announced August 4 that retired Air Force Maj. Gen. John D. Lavelle has been nominated posthumously by the President for advancement on the retired rolls to the rank of general. This follows an Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records decision and recommendations from the secretary of defense and secretary of the Air Force.
In April 1972, Lavelle was removed from command as a result of allegations that he ordered unauthorized bombing missions into North Vietnam, and that he authorized the falsification of reports to conceal the missions. Lavelle was retired in the grade of major general, two grades lower than the last grade he served on active duty. Lavelle died in 1979.
In 2007, newly released and declassified information resulted in evidence that Lavelle was authorized by President Richard Nixon to conduct the bombing missions. Further, the Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records found no evidence Lavelle caused, either directly or indirectly, the falsification of records, or that he was even aware of their existence. Once he learned of the reports, Lavelle took action to ensure the practice was discontinued.
In light of the new information, a request was made to the Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records for reinstatement to the grade of general, Lavelle's last grade while on active duty.
The evidence presented clearly corrected the historical record and warranted a reassessment of Lavelle's retired grade.
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