James was born 21 Feb 1941 at Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He enlisted in the USAF 4 Jan 1960 at Indianapolis, Indiana which he planned on doing after graduating from high school. After 23 years 1 month of service, James retired at the grade of Chief Master Sergeant.
James volunteered for flight duty as an aerial gunner and was placed on flight orders in February 1970 when he entered AC-119G training at Lockbourne AFB, OH. He completed aircrew survival training courses at Fairchild AFB and Clark AFB enroute to his assignment with the 17th Special Operations Squadron, Phan Rang AB, RVN.
James served with the 17th Special Operations Squadron at Phan Rang AB, May 1970 – August 1970 where he flew 26 combat missions and accumulated 134.9 hours as an AC- 119G Gunner. In August 1970 he responded to a higher headquarters request for volunteers to fly as helicopter crewmembers with the 20th SOS. He was selected and completed Gunner/SEFE training on the UH-1P/N at Tuy Hoa AB.
He served at Minot AFB, North Dakota, 5th Munitions Maintenance Squadron, Maintenance Superintendent, B-52H, Oct ‘80- Jan ‘83, and retired in January 1983 as Chief Master Sergeant.
Awards and Decorations: Distinguished Flying Cross, 2 OLC, Air Medal, 9th OLC.