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Sonny LindleyWhen "Sonny" Lindley graduated from Sam Houston in May, 1940, he became an Aviation Cadet in November of that year.

A humble man who says that "Everything good that I have done is a result of a Christian upbringing, Sam Houston and the good people in Huntsville." "Sonny" played four years of football at Huntsville High and five years at Sam Houston. He worked on ca mpus ("I think I painted every building on campus, including the water tower!").

He gained his wings and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on July ll, 1941. He became a B-25 instructor pilot and from his date of commission until the war was over in 1945, he was a member of the United States Military Mission to Brazil where he t rained the first Brazilian bombardment group. He was Director of Flying Training at the Combat Crew Training Station in Greenville, South Carolina, and was a Squadron Commander and Group Operations Officer for a B-25 Strafing Group in the Pacific, where he was shot down in August of 1945. In early 1947 he became a part of the Air Force R.O.T.C. program, opening up units at Western Kentucky State College in Bowling Green, Kentucky; Baylor University and East Texas State in Commerce. In 1950 he became Director of the Curriculum Division at the Air Force ROTC Headquarters - a job which he held until the summer of 1953 during which time he rewrote the entire Air Force ROTC curriculum. In late 1953 he was assigned to the University of Texas at Austin where he did graduate work, concentrating on research for an Air Force Officer Professional Education Program. In mid 1959 he was assigned to Headquarters United States Air Force as Director of Professional Education where he stayed until mid 1961. During this time the entire educational process for the preparation of professional officers was changed. All sources of commission not requiring a minimum of a baccalaureate degree were eliminated and an entirely new ROTC program for the Army, Navy and Air Force authorizing a scholarship for each was made ready for presentation to the Congress. In May of 1961, Lindley was transferred to the Air University and made Commandant of the Air Force ROTC program with the primary mission of working with the Congress to insure the passage of the ROTC Vitalization Act. The Legislation was passed by the Congress in 1964 and was labeled the ROTC Vitalization Act of that year. The primary changes in the program in addition to the added scholarship feature were decreasing the time re quired of the student to be devoted to ROTC courses, allowing the student to devote more time to his academic major; increasing the academic quality of the ROTC courses with the objective of causing them to qualify for general academic credit within the institution curriculum. The overall objective of the program was to prepare professional officers from every academic field required to satisfy the technical and scientific needs of the future for each of the Services. In 1963 the Army announced discontinuance of the junior (High School) ROTC program. As the result the House Armed Service Committee directed General Lindley to prepare a new Junior ROTC program to be sponsored by all three of the Services, which was passed by the Congress that same year. In recognition of his achievements Lindley was awarded the Vandenberg Trophy, (the highest honor offered by the Air Force in the field of education); and Honorary Doctorate of Laws Degree from an Ohio University, and permanent rank of Brigadier General. "Son ny" Lindley's efforts in the field of education have resulted in 2,159 education institutions sharing in a Federal Scholarship Program which exceeds a billion and a quarter dollars and has produced 150,184 professional career officers for the Defense Depa rtment. Sam Houston's share of this Federal Scholarship money has been in excess of $3,500,000 since 1964.

General Lindley retired from the United States Air Force in 1966 and became Vice President for Student Affairs at North Texas State University until 1971, when he moved to San Antonio as the Vice President for University Affairs at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He also served at that Institution as Dean of Continuing Education and Director of Development until he retired in 1982. "Sonny" currently lives in San Antonio with his wife of 28 years the former Martha Buchanan where they are both heavily involved with community activities primarily concerned with underprivileged children. They have both been Elders of the John Calvin Presbyterian Church since the mid-'70's.

As profiled at October 30, 1992 Distinguished Alumni Banquet


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