In April 1949 Stratemeyer assumed command of the FEAF, comprising the Fifth Air Force in Japan, the Thirteenth Air Force in the Philippines, and the Twentieth Air Force on Okinawa. By 1950, 75 percent of the men under his command were products of the Air Force Reserve training program he had organized. Known for his ability to get the most from his subordinates, Stratemeyer displayed effective leadership following the invasion of the Republic of Korea (ROK, South Korea) by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK, North Korea) on 25 June 1950. When President Harry S. Truman ordered U.S. forces into action, Stratemeyer directed FEAF aircraft in the critical early days of the war, ordering attacks on the North Korean forces and providing air cover for the evacuation of Seoul. He then directed strategic bombing of North Korea to include the destruction of lines of communications, installations, and factories.
Following the Chinese military intervention in Korea, Stratemeyer opposed General Douglas MacArthur's flouting of directives. In late November 1950, after MacArthur unilaterally ordered the bombing of the Yalu River bridges, Stratemeyer informed his superiors in Washington, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) then restricted air raids to the southern side of the river. Stratemeyer believed, however, that his air forces should be permitted to conduct operations against Mainland China.
In May 1951 Stratemeyer suffered a heart attack, and he retired from active duty in January 1952. Thereafter, he became a public advocate for unlimited military operations against the People's Republic of China (PRC), complaining in an interview that Washington had "handcuffed" MacArthur. "We were required to lose the war," Stratemeyer told a Senate subcommittee. He also lobbied for expanding U.S. airpower as the most economical way to win wars and maintain a strong defense, and in 1954 he tried to dissuade the U.S. Senate from censuring Senator Joseph McCarthy for his reckless anticommunist witch-hunt. Stratemeyer died in Orlando, Florida, on 9 August 1969.
James I. Matray
Futrell, Robert F. The United States Air Force in Korea, 1950–1953. Rev ed. Washington, DC: Office of the Chief of Air Force History, 1983.; Stratemeyer, George. The Three Wars of Lt. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer: His Korean War Diary. Edited by William T. Y'Blood. Washington, DC: Air Force History and Museums Program.