James H. Ahmann – Lieutenant General, United States Air Force

From a contemporary news report

“James A. Ahmann, a highly decorated Vietnam War pilot who helped plan military fighter planes, died at home in Vienna, Virginia, age 62. He died of cancer, his family said. As a combat pilot, he flew 230 missions in Vietnam in the early 1960s and on a second tour of duty in 1969-70. He also served with the 7th Air Force Tactical Air Control Center in Vietnam as Chief of Current Operations and Plans. In that role, he helped pan A-10 attack plan and F-15 Eagle fighter plane.

General Ahmann graduated from West Point in 1954 and the Air Command and Staff College in 1966. he also earned a Masters Degree in Electronics Engineering at the Air Force Institute of Technology. In 1960-62 he was range development officer in the Lunar Landing program at Cape Canaveral, Florida. He later transferred to Air Force Headquarters in 1970 and served as Chief of Tactical Support Division, Chief of Fighter Division, and Deputy Director for General Purpose and Airlift Studies. Later, he was commander of the 52nd Tactical Fighter Wing in West Germany, 20th Tactical Fighter Wing in England and the Eastern Test Range at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida, where he also served as Department of Defense Manager of Support Operations for Manned Space Flights. He was also Chief of U.S. Military Training Mission in Saudi Arabia and Director of Plans at Air Force Headquarters.

After retiring in 1982 as Director of Defense Department Security Assistance Agency, worked for Northrop Corporation and General Dynamics Corporation.  Among his military decorations were the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross and 2 oak leaf clusters, the Bronze Star and Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster. His first marriage ended in divorce. Surviving are his wife of 26 years, Jean Godbey, a son, Second Lieutenant Luke Ahmann, 3 daughters, a sister and a grandchild.

He was born on April 19, 1931 and died on August 8, 1993. He was buried in Section 34 of Arlington National Cemetery on August 13, 1993.

Courtesy of the United States Air Force

Retired October 1, 1982, Died August 8, 1993


Lieutenant General James H. Ahmann was director, Defense Security Assistance Agency, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington, D.C.

General Ahmann was born in 1931 in Louisville, Kentucky., where he graduated from high school in 1949. He attended Xavier University in Cincinnati for a year, then entered the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., and graduated in 1954 with a bachelor of science degree and a commission in the U.S. Air Force. He received a master’s degree in electrical engineering through the Air Force Institute of Technology program at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, in 1960 and graduated from the Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in 1966.

He entered pilot training at Bartow Air Base, Florida, after graduation from the U.S. Military Academy and in November 1955 began jet pilot instructor training at Craig Air Force Base, Alabama. In February 1956 he became a jet pilot instructor at Greenville Air Force Base, Mississippi.

In December 1957 General Ahmann was assigned as a fighter pilot instructor with the U.S. Military Training Mission at Dhahran Air Base, Saudi Arabia. He returned to the United States in November 1958 and entered the Air Force Institute of Technology program at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Following graduation in August 1960, he was assigned as a range development officer with the manned lunar landing program at the Air Force Missile Test Center, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida.

Transferring to Hurlburt Field, Florida, in December 1962, he served initially with the 1st Air Commando Wing as a T-28 instructor pilot and chief of tactical operations, and then at the Special Air Warfare Center headquarters as plans officer. While there General Ahmann had a temporary tour of duty in the Republic of Vietnam, where he flew 115 combat missions. He also served on temporary duty with two mobile training detachments in Ethiopia. In August 1965 he entered the Air Command and Staff College and graduated with distinction in July 1966.

The general was then assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., where he served in the Directorate of Plans in the Special Warfare, and Tactical and Airlift Forces Divisions. He completed F-4 training at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, in November 1969.

Returning to the Republic of Vietnam in November 1969, he served as assistant deputy commander for operations, 366th Tactical Fighter Wing, Da Nang Air Base and flew 115 missions in F-4 Phantom IIs. He later was assigned to Headquarters 7th Air Force, Tan Son Nhut Air Base, as chief, current operations and as chief, current plans, Tactical Air Control Center.

He returned to Air Force headquarters in November 1970 and was assigned to the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff, Studies and Analysis, serving successively as chief, Tactical Support Division; chief, Fighter Division; and deputy director for general purpose and airlift studies.

From February 1973 to November 1973, General Ahmann was assigned to the 52nd Tactical Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. He served initially as vice commander and in July 1973 he took command of the wing. He then transferred to England as commander of the 20th Tactical Fighter Wing, Royal Air Force Station Upper Heyford.

General Ahmann became commander of the Air Force Eastern Test Range at Patrick Air Force Base, with additional duty as Department of Defense manager for manned space flight support operations in September 1974. He was named chief of the U.S. Military Training Mission, Saudi Arabia, in February 1975.

From July 1977 to June 1979, he served as director of plans in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations at Headquarters U.S. Air Force. He then was assigned as assistant chief of staff for operations, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, Belgium. General Ahmann returned to the Pentagon in November 1981, as deputy director of the Defense Security Assistance Agency, became acting director of the agency in January 1982 and assumed his present duties in March 1982.

The general is a command pilot. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with 12 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award ribbon and Republic of Vietnam Honor Medal 1st Class.

He was promoted to Lieutenant General November 1, 1981, with same date of rank.

AHMANN, ETHEL “Jeannie” (Age 61)

Of Vienna, Virginia, on Tuesday, December 24, 2002 after battling breast cancer for six years. Wife of the late Lieutenant General James H. Ahmann; loving mother of Carolyn (Danny) Craddock, Nora Ahmann and her fiance, Butch Walker and Major Luke Ahmann and his fiancee, Kate Monaghan; daughter of John and Grace Godbey; sister of Nora Lester, Alfred Godbey and the late John and Jack Godbey. She is also survived by numerous friends.Funeral services will be held at Fort Myer Chapel on Monday, December 30, 9 a.m. with interment in Arlington National Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, P.O. Box 650309, Dallas, TX 75265.

Jeannie was born and raised in St. Alban’s, West Virginia, and attended nursing school in Charleston. She served in the U.S. Air Force fom 1965 to 1967, where she met and married Jim Ahmann. During her marriage, she was a partner in the endeavors of her husband and the Air Force, travelling throughout the world serving country and developing life long friendships. Jeannie was an incredible nurse, a best friend and the backbone of a loving family. Her kindness and generosity touched the lives of many as she was a mentor and role model to them. She taught us to live life to the fullest and experienced the wonders of life. Her family would like to thank her many friends who offered their love and support.

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