General Daniel James, Jr.
Source: Secretary of the Air Force Office of Information Command Services Unit Bolling AFB, D.C. 20332

Biographical Data

General Daniel James, Jr., was Commander in Chief, North American Air Defense Command (NORAD), a bi-national military command consisting of United States and Canadian air defense forces. Headquarters for NORAD is Peterson AFB, Colorado. General James also served as Commander in Chief, United States Air Force Aerospace Defense Command (ADCOM), the United States element of NORAD. In these dual capacities, General James had operational command of all United States and Canadian strategic aerospace defense forces. He was responsible for surveillance and air defense of North American airspace and for providing warning and assessment of hostile attack on the continent from bombers or missiles.

General James was born on February 11, 1920, in Pensacola, Florida where he graduated from Washington High School in June 1937. From September 1937 to March 1942, he attended Tuskegee Institute, where he received a bachelor of science degree in physical education and completed civilian pilot training under the Government-sponsored Civilian Pilot Training Program.

He remained at Tuskegee as a civilian instructor pilot in the Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet Program until January 1943, when he entered the program as a cadet and received his commission as a second lieutenant in July 1943. He next completed fighter pilot combat training at Selfridge Field, Michigan and was assigned to various units in the United States for the next six years.

In September 1949, General James went to the Philippines as flight leader for the 12th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, 18th Fighter Wing, at Clark Field. In July 1950 he left for Korea, where he flew 101 combat missions in F-51 and F-80 aircraft.

General James returned to the United States and in July 1951 went to Otis AFB, Massachusetts as an all-weather jet fighter pilot with the 58th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (FIS) and later became operations officer. In April 1953 he became Commander of the 437th FIS, and in August 1955 he assumed command of the 60th FIS. While stationed at Otis, he received the Massachusetts Junior Chamber of Commerce 1954 award of "Young Man of the Year" for his outstanding community relations efforts. He graduated from the Air Command and Staff College in June 1957.

General James next was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as a staff officer in the Air Defense Division of the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations. In July 1960 he was transferred to the Royal Air Force Station at Bentwaters, England, where he served successfully as Assistant Director of Operations and then Director of Operations, 81st Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW); Commander, 92nd Tactical Fighter Squadron; and Deputy Commander for Operations for the 81st Wing. In September 1964 General James was transferred to Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, where he was Director of Operations Training and later Deputy Commander for Operations for the 4453rd Combat Crew Training Wing.

General James went to Ubon Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, in December 1966, as Deputy Commander for Operations, 8th TFW, and in June 1967 was named Wing Vice Commander. He flew 78 combat missions into North Vietnam, many in the Hanoi/Haiphong area, and led a flight into the Bolo Mig sweep in which seven Communist Mig 21s were destroyed, the highest total kill of any mission during the Vietnam War.

He was named Vice Commander of the 33rd TFW at Eglin AFB, Florida in December 1967. While stationed at Eglin, the Florida State Jaycees named General James as Florida's Outstanding American of the Year for 1969, and he received the Jaycee Distinguished Service Award. He was transferred to Wheelus Air Base in the Libyan Arab Republic in August 1969 as Commander of the 7272nd Fighter Training Wing.

General James became Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) in March 1970 and was designated Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) in April 1973. He assumed duty as Vice Commander of the Military Airlift Command, with headquarters at Scott AFB, Illinois on September 1, 1974. He was promoted to four-star grade and assigned as Commander in Chief NORAD/ADCOM on September 1, 1975.

General James was widely known for his speeches on Americanism and patriotism for which he had been editorialized in numerous national and international publications. Excerpts from some of the speeches have been read into the Congressional Record. He was awarded the George Washington Freedom Foundation Medal in 1967 and again in 1968. He received the Arnold Air Society Eugene M. Zuckert Award in 1970 for outstanding contributions to Air Force professionalism. His citation read "...fighter pilot with a magnificent record, public speaker, and eloquent spokesman for the American Dream we so rarely achieve."

Other civilian awards that General James has received include the following: 1969--Builders of a Greater Arizona Award; 1070--Phoenix Urban League Man of the Year Award, Distinguished Service Achievement Award from Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity; 1971--American Legion National Commander's Public Relations Award, Veteran of Foreign Wars (VFW) Commander in Chief's Gold Medal Award and Citation; 1975--Capital Press Club, Washington, D.C., Salute to Black Pioneers Award; 1976--Air Force Association Jimmy Doolittle Chapter Man of the Year Award, Florida Association of Broadcasters' Gold Medal Award, American Veterans of World War II Silver Helmet Award, United Service Organization Liberty Bell Award, Blackbook Minority Business and Reference Guidance Par Excellence Award, American Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award, United Negro College Fund's Distinguished Service Award, Horatio Alger Award, VFW Americanism Medal, Bishop Wright Air Industry Award, and the Kitty Hawk Award (Military). He was awarded honorary doctor of laws degrees from the University of West Florida in 1971, the University of Akron in 1973, Virginia State College in 1974, Delaware State College in 1975, and St. Louis University in 1976. He was also named Honorary National Commander, Arnold Air Society in 1971.

General James was a command pilot. He has received numerous military decorations and awards which are listed in the attached fact sheet.

General James is married to the former Dorothy Watkins of Tuskegee, Alabama. They have daughter, Danice (Mrs. Frank W. Berry); and two sons, Daniel III, a captain in the Air Force, and Claude.

A. Personal Data

  • Born - February 11, 1920, Pensacola, Fla., son of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel James, Sr. (deceased).

  • Married - November 3, 1942; wife - Dorothy Watkins of Tuskegee, Alabama. Children - Danice, married to Lt. Col. Frank W. Berry, USAF, and they have two children, Jamie and Frank III; Daniel III, Capt., USAF; and Claude.

B. Education

  • Graduate, Washington High School, Pensacola, Fla., 1937.

  • Graduate, Tuskegee Institute, Tuskegee, Alabama, B.S. in Physical Education, 1942; Primary, Basic, and Advanced Flying Schools, Tuskegee, Alabama, 1943; Air Command & Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, 1957.

C. Service

  • Jan 1943 - July 1943, Avn. cadet, Tuskegee, Ala.

  • July 1943 - June 1947, Ftr. plt. tng., Selfridge Fld., Mich.; then flt. ldr., asst. ops. off., B-25 plt., 617th Bomb Gp., Godman Fld., Ky., & Lockbourne AFB, Ohio.

  • July 1947 - Sept 1949, Ftr. plt., 301st Ftr. Sq., instr. tng. off., Lockbourne AFB, Ohio.

  • Sept 1949 - June 1950, Ftr. plt., 12th Ftr. Sq., the Philippines.

  • July 1950 - Apr 1951, Jet ftr. plt., 67th Ftr. Bomb Sq., 12th Ftr. Bomb Sq., & 44th Ftr. Bomb Sq., 18th Ftr. Bomb Wg., Korea.

  • May 1951 - Mar 1953, Jet ftr. plt., 27th Ftr. Intcp. Sq., Griffiss AFB, N.Y.; later, 58th Ftr. Intcp. Sq., Otis AFB, Mass.

  • Apr 1953 - June 1956, Comdr., 437th Ftr. Intcp. Sq.; later Comdr., 60th Ftr. Intcp. Sq., Otis AFB, Mass.

  • July 1956 - Aug 1956, Sp. Proj. Off., 33rd Ftr. Gp., Otis AFB, Mass.

  • Sept 1956 - June 1957, Stu., ACSC, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

  • July 1957 - June 1960, Stf. off., Ops. Con. Div.; later Air Def. Div., DCS/Ops., HQ USAF, Washington, D.C.

  • July 1960 - Jan 1962, Asst. Dir. & later Dir. of Ops., 81st Tac. Ftr. Wg., RAF Sta., Bentwaters, England.

  • Feb 1962 - July 1962, Comdr., 92nd Tac. Ftr. Sq., RAF Sta., Bentwaters, England.

  • July 1962 - Aug 1964, Dep. Comdr. for Ops., 81st Tac. Ftr. Wg., RAF Sta., Bentwaters, England.

  • Sept 1964 - Nov 1966, Dir. of Ops. Tng.; later Dep. Comdr. for Ops., 4453rd Combt. Crew Tng. Wg., Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona.

  • Dec 1966 - Dec 1967, Dep. Comdr. for Ops.; later Vice Comdr., 8th Tac. Ftr. Wg., Ubon RTAFB, Thailand.

  • Dec 1967 - Aug 1969, Vice Comdr., 33rd Tac. Ftr. Wg., Eglin AFB, Florida.

  • Aug 1969 - Mar 1970, Comdr., 7272nd Fly. Tng. Wg., Wheelus AB, Libyan Arab Republic.

  • Mar 1970 - Apr 1973, Dep. Asst. Secy. of Def. (Public Affairs), OSD, Washington, D.C.

  • Apr 1973 - Aug 1974, Principal Dep. Asst. Sec. of Def. (Public Affairs), OSD, Washington, D.C.

  • Sept 1974 - Sept 1975, Vice Comdr., MAC, Scott AFB, Illinois.

  • Sept 1975 - time of death, CINC, NORAD & CINC, ADCOM, Peterson AFB, Colorado.

D. Decorations and Service Awards

  • Distinguished Service Medal (Dept. of Defense)

  • Distinguished Service Medal (Air Force) w/1 oak leaf cluster

  • Legion of Merit w/1 oak leaf cluster

  • Distinguished Flying Cross w/2 oak leaf clusters

  • Meritorious Service Medal

  • Air Medal w/13 oak leaf clusters

  • Army Commendation Medal

  • Distinguished Unit Citation Emblem w/1 oak leaf cluster (service before 1965)

  • Presidential Unit Citation Emblem w/3 oak leaf clusters (service 1965 and later)

  • Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon w/3 oak leaf clusters

  • Combat Readiness Medal

  • Good Conduct Medal

  • American Defense Service Medal

  • American Campaign Medal

  • World War II Victory Medal

  • National Defense Service Medal w/1 service star

  • Korean Service Medal w/4 service stars

  • Vietnam Service Medal w/2 bronze service stars

  • Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon w/7 oak leaf clusters

  • Armed Forces Reserve Medal

  • Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon

  • Republic Of Korea Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon

  • United Nations Service Medal

  • Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

E. Effective Dates of Promotions Grade Temporary Permanent

  • 2nd Lt. July 28, 1943

  • 1st Lt. July 1, 1944

  • Capt. October 31, 1950 - August 20, 1947

  • Maj. June 18, 1952 - September 9, 1952

  • Lt. Col. April 25, 1956 - August 1, 1963

  • Col. November 15, 1964 - September 15, 1966

  • Brig. Gen. July 1, 1970 -February 26, 1971

  • Maj. Gen. August 1, 1972 -April 2, 1973

  • Lt. Gen. June 1, 1973

  • Gen. September 1, 1975

  • Retired: February 1, 1978

  • Death: February 25, 1978


james.jpg (26596 bytes)

Home | About Us | Links of Interest | Contact Us

The purpose of this website is to give recognition to those individuals who have made a significant contributions and perhaps not received the visibility that they might have deserved. In this regard we hope to offer to the visitors to this site knowledge of additional individuals and hope the visitor will become more enlightened.

If you would like to contribute to this web project please e-mail:
Site Hosted and Designed by The Internet Consulting Group of Georgia
Copyright © 2005 ICGG. All right reserved.