McConnell next held a variety of routine assignments. Promoted to major in July 1941, he advanced to lieutenant colonel in January 1942 and served in the office of the chief of the Army Air Forces (AAF). He was made a colonel that December and became deputy chief of staff of the AAF Training Command at Fort Worth, Texas. In November 1943, Colonel McConnell was named chief of staff of the China-Burma-India Air Force Training Command, located at Karachi, India (now Pakistan). In August 1944, he was promoted to brigadier general. He was then senior air staff officer, Air Command Southeast Asia, and he also became deputy commander of the Third Tactical Air Force. In addition, McConnell served as senior air adviser to the Nationalist Chinese government while commanding the Air Division at Nanjing (Nanking) Headquarters.
In 1947, McConnell returned to Air Force Headquarters in Washington, where he became chief of the Reserve and National Guard Division. In December 1950, he was promoted to major general and took command of Third Air Force in Britain. From 1951 to 1953, McConnell commanded the 7th Air Division of the Strategic Air Command, while continuing to command Third Air Force. After completing four years as director of plans for the Strategic Air Command, McConnell was promoted to lieutenant general and took command of Second Air Force at Barksdale Air Force Base in 1957.
McConnell returned to the headquarters of the Strategic Air Command in 1961 as vice commander and within a year was promoted to full general. He became vice chief of staff of the air force in August 1964. In February 1965, he served as air force chief of staff, holding that post until his retirement in July 1969. McConnell died in Bethesda, Maryland, on 21 November 1986.
Shelley K. Cox
Goldberg, Sheldon A., and J. C. Hopkins. The Development of Strategic Air Command, 1946–1986. Offutt Air Force Base, NE: Office of the Historian, Headquarters, Strategic Air Command, 1986.; Nalty, Bernard C. Winged Shield, Winged Sword: A History of the USAF. Vol. 2. Washington, DC: Air Force History and Museum Programs, 1997.; Warden, Mike. Rise of the Fighter Generals: The Problem of Air Force Leadership, 1945–1982. Maxwell Air Force Base, AL: Air University Press, 1998.