Paul Douglas was born on April 23, 1919, in Paragould, Arkansas. He enlisted in the Arkansas National Guard on October 6, 1939, and served as an infantryman until he entered the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Army Air Corps on April 25, 1941. He was commissioned a 2d Lt and awarded his pilot wings at Victoria Field, Texas, on December 12, 1941, and then served as a P-36 Hawk, P-40 Warhawk, P-38 Lightning, and P-47 Thunderbolt pilot with the 63rd Fighter Squadron of the 56th Fighter Group at Mitchel Field, New York, from December 1941 to June 1942. His next assignment was as a P-36 and P-47 pilot and as Operations Officer with the 89th Fighter Squadron of the 80th Fighter Group at Mitchel Field from July to November 1942, followed by service as a P-47 pilot and Commander of the 321st Fighter Squadron of the 326th Fighter Group at Westover Field, Massachusetts, from November 1942 to June 1943. Lt Col Douglas served as Commander of the 396th Fighter Squadron of the 368th Fighter Group at Farmindale, New York, from June to December 1943, and then in England from January to November 1944. His next assignment was as Deputy Commander of the 368th Fighter Group from November 1944 to April 1945, followed by service as Commander of the 368th from April to June 1945. During this time he was credited with the destruction of 7 enemy aircraft in aerial combat, plus 1 probable and 1 damaged, as well as 27 destroyed on the ground while strafing enemy airfields. Col Douglas served as Commander of the 36th Fighter Group in Germany from April to June 1945, and then as Commander of the 48th Fighter Group in Germany and France from June to September 1945. His next assignment was as Supervisor of Flying Training with the 146th Base Unit at Selfridge Field, Michigan, from December 1945 to March 1946, followed by service as Jet Operations Officer with Headquarters 3rd Air Force in Tampa, Florida, and then at Langley Army Airfield, Virginia, from March to September 1946. He then received an assignment to complete his bachelor's degree at Texas Christian University from September 1946 to June 1948, and after receiving his bachelor's degree, he served as Wing Flying Safety Officer for the 1st Fighter Wing at March Field, California, from July to September 1948. Col Douglas served as an F-80 Shooting Star pilot and Commander of the 22nd Fighter Squadron of the 36th Fighter Wing at Furstenfeldbruck AB, Germany, from June 1948 to December 1949. His next assignment was as a Jet Operations Officer with Headquarters Tactical Air Command at Langley AFB, Virginia, and then as an Instructor with the Air-Ground Operations School at Headquarters 9th Air Force at Pope AFB, North Carolina, from January 1950 to December 1952. Col Douglas served as an F-86 Sabre pilot and Commander of the 21st Fighter-Bomber Group at George AFB, California, from January 1953 to November 1954, followed by service as Chief of the Investigation and Field Operations Division with the Directorate of Flight Safety Research, Office of the Inspector General, at Norton AFB, California, from November 1954 to January 1958. Col Douglas attended the NATO Defense College in Paris, France, from February to August 1958, and then served as an F-89 Scorpion pilot and Commander of the 1400th Operations Group at Keflavik Airport, Iceland, from August 1958 to August 1959. His next assignment was as Assistant for Flight Missile and Nuclear Safety with Headquarters U.S. Air Force in the Pentagon from August 1959 to July 1960, followed by service as Deputy Inspector General for Safety with the 1003rd Inspector General Group and Deputy Director of Aerospace Safety with the 1002nd Inspector General Group at Norton AFB from July 1960 to June 1964. Col Douglas served as Director of Operations with the 832nd Air Division at Cannon AFB, New Mexico, from June to September 1964, and then as Commander of the 474th Tactical Fighter Wing at Cannon from September 1964 to July 1965. He next served as Commander of the 41st Air Division at Yokota AB, Japan, from July 1965 to January 1968, followed by service as an F-105 Thunderchief pilot and Commander of the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing at Korat Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, from January to December 1968. His final assignment was as Commander of the 836th Air Divison at MacDill AFB, Florida, from February 1969 until his retirement from the Air Force on February 1, 1970. Paul Douglas died on December 26, 2002, and was buried at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Killeen, Texas.
His 2nd Distinguished Service Cross Citation reads:
For extraordinary heroism in action against the enemy, 14 March 1945. On this date, with only three aircraft supporting him, Colonel Douglas attacked a force of more than fifty enemy aircraft carrying bombs toward the American lines in the Remagen Bridgehead. Completely disregarding the enemy's overwhelming numerical superiority, he attacked relentlessly, compelling the hostile aircraft to jettison their bombs. In the ensuing combat Colonel Douglas destroyed three enemy planes while the aircraft he was leading destroyed seven additional enemy planes with no loss to themselves. The extraordinary heroism and determination of this Officer to destroy the enemy are in keeping with the highest traditions of the Armed Forces of the United States.