Vershinin, Konstantin Andreevich
Born May 21 (June 3), 1900, in the village of Borkino, now Kirov Oblast; died Dec. 30, 1973, in Moscow. Chief marshal of aviation from 1959; hero of the Soviet Union (Aug. 19, 1944). Member of the CPSU from 1919. Born into the family of a peasant.
Vershinin joined the Red Army in June 1919, fought in the Civil War, and commanded a company and a battalion. He graduated from infantry commander school in 1920, from Vystrel, the higher infantry school of the Soviet Army, in 1923, from the Zhukovskii Air Force Academy in 1932, and from pilot school in 1935. From 1932 he held staff and command positions in the air force. During the Great Patriotic War (1941-45) he commanded the air force of the Southern Front from September 1941 to May 1942, the Fourth Air Army in May-September 1942, the air force of the Trans- caucasian Front from September 1942 to March 1943, and the Fourth Air Army from March 1943. From 1946 to 1949 he was commander in chief of the Soviet Air Force and deputy minister of the USSR armed forces; from 1949 to 1951, deputy commander in chief of the Air Force; subsequently he held command positions in the air defense forces; in 1953-54 he was commander of the National Air Defense Forces. From January 1957 to March 1969 he was commander in chief of the air force and USSR deputy minister of defense. Vershinin was a deputy to the second and the fourth through seventh convocations of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and a candidate member of the Central Committee of the CPSU from 1952 to 1956; he was a member of the Central Committee of the CPSU from 1961. Vershinin was awarded four Orders of Lenin, the Order of the October Revolution, three Orders of the Red Banner, three Orders of Suvorov First Class, the Order of Suvorov Second Class, the Order of the Patriotic War First Class, several foreign orders, and various medals.