James F. Record – Lieutenant General, United States Air Force

Courtesy of the United States Air Force:


Retired February 1, 1997.  Died December 22, 2009.

Lieutenant General James F. Record was commander, 12th Air Force and U.S. Southern Command Air Forces, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona. The command is comprised of eight active-duty wings in the Western and Midwestern United States and Panama with more than 450 aircraft and 35,000 active-duty military and civilian personnel. He also ensures the operational readiness of 12th Air Force-gained units of the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard, featuring an additional 21,000 people and more than 360 aircraft. His duties also involve overseeing U.S. Air Force assets provided to U.S. Southern Command in Central and South America as commander of the air component to that unified command. He also serves as the Air Force commander of Component Task Force 224, the Battle Management arm of U.S. Strategic Command.

The General was born and raised in Indiana. He entered the Air Force in 1961, following graduation from Purdue University and commissioning through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program. He has commanded three fighter wings, an air division, served as the first deputy commander of Joint Task Force Middle East operating in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea, and served as commander of Joint Task Force Southwest Asia. General Record also served in the Pentagon, and has held high level joint duty positions with U.S. Central Command, United Nations Command and the Republic of Korea and United States Combined Forces Command. He is a command pilot, having flown more than 6,000 hours, principally in fighter aircraft. He flew 616 combat missions in Southeast Asia.

1961 Bachelor’s degree in animal science, Purdue University, Indiana
1964 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama
1971 Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
1972 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama
1972 Master’s degree in public administration, Auburn University, Alabama
1975 Research associate, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas, Austin
1977 Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama

1. November 1961 – December 1962, student, pilot training, 3640th Pilot Training Wing, Laredo Air Force Base, Texas
2. January 1963 – November 1968, T-33 and T-38 instructor pilot, 3640th Pilot Training Squadron, Laredo Air Force Base, Texas
3. March 1967 – May 1968, 0-1 and 0-2 forward air controller, Chu Lai, Hue, Quang Tri, and Khe Sahn Air Base, South Vietnam
4. May 1968 – January 1969, F-100 instructor pilot, 308th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Tuy Hoa Air Base, South Vietnam
5. January 1969 – August 1971, flight and academic instructor, U.S. Air Force Instrument Instructor Pilot Training, 3511th Flying Training Squadron, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas
6. August 1971 – August 1972, student, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama
7. August 1972 – May 1975, air operations officer, fighter division, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Programs and Resources, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
8. June 1975 – June 1976, research associate, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas, Austin
9. August 1976 – June 1977, student, Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama
10. June 1977 – November 1979, chief of safety; later, combat support group deputy commander; later, combat support group commander, 347th Tactical Fighter Wing, Moody Air Force Base, Georgia
11. March 1980 – March 1982, assistant deputy commander for operations; later, deputy commander for operations, 23rd Tactical Fighter Wing, England Air Force Base, Louisiana
12. March 1982 – May 1983, vice commander; later, commander, 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, Kunsan Air Base, South Korea
13. May 1983 – May 1984, commander, 58th Tactical Training Wing, Luke Air Force Base, Arizona
14. May 1984 – October 1985, commander, 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, Hill Air Force Base, Utah
15. October 1985 – September 1987, commander, 833rd Air Division, Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico
16. September 1987 – March 1988, deputy commander, Joint Task Force Middle East (Afloat), Persian Gulf-North Arabian Sea
17. March 1988 – June 1990, director of operations, Headquarters U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida
18. June 1990 – June 1992, chief of staff, United Nations Command and Republic of Korea/United States Combined Forces Command, Yongsan Army Garrison, Seoul, South Korea
19. June 1992 – June 1995, vice commander, 12th Air Force and U.S. Southern Command Air Forces, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. (While in that position, he took command of Joint Task Force Southwest Asia from November 1992 until March 1993)
20. June 1995 – present, commander, 12th Air Force and U.S. Southern Command Air Forces, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona

Rating: Command pilot
Flight hours: More than 6,000
Aircraft flown: A-7, A-10, F-4, F-15, F-16, F-100, O-1, O-2, T-33, T-38 and T-39

Defense Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters
Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters
Bronze Star Medal
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Air Medal with 27 oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal
Vietnam Service Medal with six service stars
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

Second Lieutenant Jun 3, 1961
First Lieutenant May 15, 1963
Captain May 15, 1966
Major Mar 1, 1971
Lieutenant Colonel May 1, 1975
Colonel Jan 1, 1980
Brigadier General Oct 1, 1985
Major General Aug 1, 1988
Lieutenant General Oct 31, 1995

23 December 2009:

Lieutenant General James Record had three stars on his shoulder when he retired from the Air Force 12 years ago, but he remained unaffected by his stellar military career.

An Indiana farm boy at heart, Record maintained his Midwest values throughout his life, said a longtime friend, retired Air Force Colonel Bill Pitts.

“I spent 26 years in the military, and he was the best commander I ever had, and he is the most amazing gentleman and friend you could ever wish for,” Pitts said.

Pitts so respected his friend and fellow pilot that he considers it an honor to coordinate funeral arrangements for Record on behalf of the general’s family.

Record died on December 22, 2009, as a result of acute myelogenous leukemia. He was 71.

“Generally, a three-star general doesn’t have a Colonel as a friend. They run in different circles,” Pitts said. “We became what I would call honorary brothers. I was honored to have been invited into his inner circle.”

The friends spoke by phone several times a week and met for weekly lunches and rounds of golf.

“When you were around him, he made you feel like you were the special one. He just had that personality. Nothing was about him; everything was about you,” Pitts said.

Record grew up in Michigantown, Indiana, the son of Edwin and Enid Record. His parents were farmers who eventually focused their horticultural activities on breeding dahlias. They became renowned in the industry for the flowers they cultivated, Pitts said. Though Record’s father has died, his mother still lives in their hometown.

While attending Purdue University, Record was a leader on the Air Force ROTC drill team, which won several national honors, including being named national champions. He was a distinguished graduate from ROTC and is a member of the Purdue University Air Force ROTC Hall of Fame. While attending the university, Record took flying lessons and earned his pilot’s license.

He began his formal military career in 1961, when he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force. He steadily moved through the ranks during his 36 years of service.

Record was a command pilot who flew two tours of duty in Vietnam, one as a forward air controller and one as an F-100 fighter pilot. He flew 616 combat missions, logging more than 1,100 combat hours. He piloted 11 different aircraft, totaling more than 6,000 flying hours during his decades of service. He commanded three fighter wings and an air division, and he served as the first deputy commander of Joint Task Force-Southwest Asia.

At Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Record commanded the 12th Air Force and U.S. Southern Command Air Forces, consisting of eight active-duty wings, more than 450 aircraft, 35,000 active-duty and civilian personnel, and 21,000 Reserve and National Guard forces, with more than 360 aircraft.

During his military career, Record was awarded the Vietnam Service Medal with six service stars, 27 Air Medals, the Bronze Star, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters, the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Defense Distinguished Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster.

Record retired from Air Force service in 1997 and took a job as a senior executive for Raytheon Missile Systems (then Hughes Aircraft), working in Saudi Arabia. He continued working for Raytheon’s Tucson-based operation until 2007.

“He stayed in the upper echelon of the military industry all the way up until the time he finally stopped formally working, but he still consulted with them occasionally,” Pitts said.

Record is survived by his mother, Enid; his wife, Peggy; and sons James, John and Joe.

A memorial service is planned for 3 p.m. Tuesday at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base chapel, with a reception to follow at the officers club. Interment will be in Arlington National Cemetery.

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