Major General Paul Allen Dettmer, United States Air Force, Retired, age 59, died peacefully at home with his family in Centreville, Virginia on Monday, December 29th, 2014, after a courageous battle with cancer. General Dettmer was born on October 6th, 1955 in Bakersfield, California, to Paul and Barbara Dettmer.
He was a 1977 graduate with honors of the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he earned a degree in Biological Sciences and was commissioned upon graduation. He served 33 years in the Air Force, retiring as a Major General. He married the former Catherine Marie Brucia in 1992 and served in critical leadership positions in Korea, Germany, Panama, and many other locations over his distinguished career.
Major General Dettmer retired in 2010 during his final military assignment as the Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), Headquarters U.S. Air Force, The Pentagon. In that capacity, he was responsible to the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force for policy formulation, planning, evaluation, oversight, and leadership of Air Force intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. During this tour, he played a key leadership role in the development and fielding of the MC-12W Project Liberty program, a unique non-traditional ISR reconnaissance asset needed for protection of U.S. and allied forces engaged in the global war on terrorism. He was also responsible for the overall strategy and implementation of ISR personnel and assets supporting deployed U.S. and Allied forces in Iraq and Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.
While Director of Intelligence at Headquarters United States Air Forces in Europe immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, he spearheaded the development and fielding of critical intelligence systems supporting U.S. military operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan. His efforts resulted in the successful prosecution of key targets, the protection of key critical assets and the saving of American and Allied lives.
Major General Dettmer achieved recognition as a leader in all areas of military intelligence, particularly in airborne ISR operations. Early in his career, he was hand-picked to establish a new detachment in Panama of military flyers supporting ISR missions in Central and South America. He was responsible for high tempo operations in the 1980s that were critical in supporting U.S. military operations during Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada and Operation Just Cause in Panama.
Paul held a variety of other key intelligence leadership positions, including Intelligence Assessments Division Chief in the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Director of the Tactical Signals Intelligence Program Office for the National Security Agency; and the Vice Director of Intelligence, Joint Chiefs of Staff, where he was responsible for the daily intelligence briefing to the Secretary of Defense and key Pentagon staff. In all these positions he played a leadership role in developing and deploying significant new intelligence collection capabilities to support ongoing military operations throughout the world.
General Dettmer also commanded the 27th Air Intelligence Squadron at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia; the 607th Air Intelligence Group at Osan Air Base, South Korea; and the Air Force Technical Applications Center at Patrick AFB, Florida. He was a highly respected Commander of forces who always put the welfare of his people first.
General Dettmer is the recipient of the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, two Legions of Merit, two Defense Meritorious Service Medals, seven Meritorious Service Medals, two Air Medals, and numerous other significant awards and decorations. General Dettmer was one of the most distinguished Air Force military intelligence officers of his time. He answered the clarions call to duty with distinction. After his retirement from military service, he was recognized in September 2013 as an inductee to the Air Force ISR Agency's Freedom through Vigilance Hall of Honor.
Survivors include his loving wife, Cathy, and two children Ali and Andrew. He is also survived by two brothers, Tom and Bob, and a sister, Susan. He was preceded in death by his parents.
A viewing will be held at Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home, 9902 Braddock Road, Fairfax, Virginia, on Sunday, January 4th, from 2 – 6 p.m. and a mass of Christian burial will be held at Saint Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church, 6720 Union Mill Road, Clifton, Virginia, at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, January 5th, with a reception to follow. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery with full honors at a time to be announced at a later date.
Relatives and friends are welcome at the viewing, the mass of Christian burial, and the interment.
Memorial contributions in Paul's name are welcome at the Air Force Aid Society in lieu of flowers, by clicking on Paul's name at the following link: https://www.afas.org/memorials, or by mail to Air Force Aid Society, 241 18th St. S, Suite 202, Arlington, VA 22202 and please include Paul's name with your contribution. Flowers may also be sent to the Funeral Home, and should be scheduled to arrive no later than noon on Sunday, January 4th. - See more at: http://www.fairfaxmemorialfuneralhome.com/obituary/Paul-Allen-Dettmer/Centreville-VA/1465776#sthash.ci79Pleb.dpuf
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