Skip to main content
Edit entry 

Melvyn R Paisley


Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Engineering and Systems) from December 1981 to March 1987.
Authored the book "Ace!" published by Branden Publishing Company, copyright 1992


Units served with

  • 366th Fighter Group

    366th Fighter Group

    The Group moved in England over the New Year of 1944, setting up home first at Membury and then at Thruxton. The pilots' first mission was a fighter sweep of the French coast in March 1944 and from then until D-Day that June the ground supported Allied...

  • 390th Fighter Squadron

Associated Place

  • Atcham

    Military site : airfield
    Atcham, at some remove from other American Air Force bases in Shropshire, was used by USAAF to train pilots from June 1942, several months before the American Eagle Squadrons were combined to form the 4th Fighter Group. Pilots here were mainly trained...

  • Laon /Couvron

    Military site : airfield

  • Asch

    Military site : airfield


Event Location Date
Born Portland, OR, USA 9 October 1924
366th FG Combat Tour Asche Aerodrome, Vliegbasis Zutendaal, 3690 Zutendaal, Belgium 13 October 1944 – May 1945

5 victory ace

Died McLean, VA, USA 19 December 2001

Mr. Paisley was born on Oct. 9, 1924, in Portland, Ore. He spent his early years in a logging camp, where his father was a logger and his mother was a cook. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in World War II, where he became a skilled pilot and downed several enemy planes over Europe. He received the Distinguished Service Cross and the Silver Star.
After the war, Mr. Paisley studied engineering and was hired by The Boeing Company. In 28 years there, he rose to become Director of International Operations for Boeing Aerospace.
He established a close relationship with John F. Lehman Jr., who asked him to move to Washington after Mr. Lehman was named Secretary of the Navy. They established a reputation for brash, occasionally heavy-handed management and for slashing red tape that interfered with the Navy's expansion. Mr. Lehman was never accused of any misdeeds.
Before he headed to the Pentagon, Mr. Paisley received a $183,000 severance package from Boeing. Prosecutors sued him under the federal ethics law in 1986, arguing that such a large ''golden handshake'' would compromise Mr. Paisley's objectivity toward Boeing. The Supreme Court later ruled that such packages were not, in themselves, illegal.
In his Pentagon post as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, which he left in 1987, and later as a consultant to the arms industry, Mr. Paisley used his influence and inside information to guide executives from businesses like Martin Marietta and United Technologies through the procurement thicket, steering billions of dollars in contracts their way.
Released from prison in 1995, he spent his time painting and collecting World War II films. He was a consultant for a two-hour documentary, ''Shooting War,'' narrated by Tom Hanks and recently broadcast on ABC-TV, Ms. Paisley said.

Buried January 2002

Arlington National Cemetery • Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Sec: 66, Site: 6693


Date Contributor Update
03 January 2018 02:44:46 466thHistorian Changes to media associations

Information sent by Melvyn Paisley 8 March 2000

Date Contributor Update
03 January 2018 02:44:03 466thHistorian Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, nationality, highest rank, role, biography, events, unit associations and place associations
"Ace!" - Melvyn R. Paisley