Frank B. James – Brigadier General, United States Air Force


Retired June 1, 1968

Frank B. James was born in Delavin, Wisconsin in 1912. He graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1937 with a bachelor of arts degree and, in June of that year, entered the Army Air Corps Primary Flying School at Randolph, Field, Texas. He graduated from the Advanced Flying School at Kelly in June 1938, winning his pilot's wings and Second Lieutenant's commission.

His first duty assignment was at Barksdale Field, Louisiana, with the 79th Pursuit Squadron, 20th Pursuit Group. In 1941, First Lieutenant James became commander of the 50th Fighter Squadron, 14th Fighter Group, at Hamilton Field. He served as commander of that unit in various locations in California and attained the grade of major before his reassignment from the unit. From June 1942 until May 1943, he served in staff positions with the IV Fighter Command in the San Francisco-Oakland Bay area.

In May 1943, following his promotion to Lieutenant Colonel, he assumed command of the 55th Fighter Group at McChord Field, Washington. He accompanied the 55th Fighter Group to the United Kingdom, where he participated in the European Aerial Campaign.

In November 1943, he was promoted to grade of Colonel and, in March 1944, became chief of combat operations, Headquarters VIII Fighter Command, 8th Air Force. During this period, he was awarded the Legion of Merit for his successful planning and execution of Fighter Combat tactics against the Luftwaffe.

From October 1944 to January 1945, Colonel James served as director of fighters, Headquarters 8th Air Force, United Kingdom, and in January of that year he became director of operations in the same headquarters.

In August 1945, Colonel James returned to the United States to assume the position of commanding officer, McChord Field, Wash. During the period of March 1946 to January 1948, he served on the staff and faculty of the Command and Staff School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

He attended the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Virginia, graduating therefrom in June 1948. Following his graduation from the Armed Forces Staff College, he served as a member of the staff and faculty until May 1950, when he was appointed the U.S. air attache, American Embassy, Moscow. He left Russia in December 1951 to become, successively, assistant chief of staff for intelligence and assistant chief of staff for operations, Headquarters l2th Air Force in Germany.

In July 1953, he returned to the U.S. as an Air War College student at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, and, after graduation from the Air War College in June 1954, served as the Air Force assistant director, Joint Intelligence Group, Joint Staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C.

In October 1956, Colonel James was appointed U.S. air attache, U.S. Embassy, London. He was promoted to the grade of Brigadier General in November 1956. He returned to the U.S. from England in June 1959 and was assigned to Headquarters NORAD, Ent Air Force Base, Colorado, where he served, successively, as the deputy chief of staff-intelligence and deputy chief of staff-programs until July 1962. At that time he was reassigned to Ottawa, Canada, and became chief, U.S. Air Force Central Coordinating Staff-Canada.

The U.S. Air Force Central Coordinating Staff-Canada is a field extension office of the deputy chief of staff-operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. It is the principal U.S. Air Force liaison agent in Canada. In this assignment, General James is charged with the responsibility of promoting and perpetuating friendly and harmonious relationships between the U.S. Air Force and Canadian Government. The U.S. Air Force Central Coordinating Staff-Canada monitors the U.S. Air Force /Royal Canadian Air Force Exchange Officer Program, providing administrative support for 50 U.S. Air Force officers assigned to the exchange officer duties with the Royal Canadian Air Force throughout Canada. The many and varied responsibilities of this assignment require General James to have an intimate knowledge of Air Force interests and programs in Canada. He must, of course, work in close harmony with top Canadian defense and diplomatic officials.

General James died in 2005 and was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery on 1 August 2005.


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