William K. James


Preferred Name: Kirk

Nickname/Call Sign: Jesse

Date of Birth: June 15, 1935

Highest Military Grade Held: Major General

Hometown: Hope, AR

Biography

Major General William K. James was the director of the Defense Mapping Agency, Fairfax, VA.
General James was born in 1935, in Hope, Ark. He earned a bachelor of science degree in geology from Southern Methodist University in 1958. The general completed Squadron Officer School in 1964, Armed Forces Staff College in 1973 and Air War College in 1978.
Upon graduation from Southern Methodist University, he received a regular commission in the Air Force through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program as a distinguished graduate. He entered flight training at Bartow Air Base, Fla., in July 1958, and received his pilot wings at Greenville Air Force Base, Miss., in July 1959.
The general spent the next six years as an instructor pilot, officer training instructor, and standardization-evaluation flight examiner, flying T-33s and T-37s at Greenville Air Force Base and Moody Air Force Base, Ga. In September 1965 General James completed F-100 conversion training and was assigned to the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing, Royal Air Force Station Lakenheath, England. He transferred to the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing, Bien Hoa Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, in February 1969. During this tour of duty he flew 180 combat missions.
Returning to the United States in December 1969, General James was assigned to the 474th Tactical Fighter Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. While there he served successively as an F-111 flight commander, squadron weapons officer, squadron chief of training and scheduling, and standardization-evaluation flight examiner.
He graduated from the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Va., in January 1973 and was assigned to Headquarters Allied Forces Central Europe, Brunssum, Netherlands, as an action officer in the Plans Division, Nuclear Operations Branch. In December 1975 General James became commander of the 55th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 20th Tactical Fighter Wing, at Royal Air Force Station Upper Heyford, England.
After graduation from the Air War College as a distinguished graduate in May 1978, the general was assigned as chief of the Plans, Operations and Readiness Division, Air Directorate, National Guard Bureau, Washington, D.C. General James served as vice commander of the 27th Tactical Fighter Wing at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., from April 1980 to August 1980, when he became wing commander.
He was assigned as commander of the 552nd Airborne Warning and Control Wing, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., in September 1982 and remained commander of the organization when, in October 1983, it was redesignated as the 552nd Airborne Warning and Control Division. When the division reorganized in April 1985, General James became commander of the newly activated 28th Air Division, of which the 552nd Airborne Warning and Control Wing was a subordinate unit.
In September 1986 the general reported to Royal Air Force Station Mildenhall, England, as commander of 3rd Air Force. From July 1988 to July 1989 he was deputy chief of staff for operations, Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va. He then became deputy commander in chief for U.S. Southern Command, Panama, and served throughout Operation Just Cause. He assumed his present position in June 1990.
The general is a command pilot with almost 6,500 flying hours in the T-33, T-37, A-7, A-10, F-100, F-111, F-15, EC-135 and E-3. His military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with eight oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with two oak leaf clusters, Combat Readiness Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with four service stars, Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon with five oak leaf clusters, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, and Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.
He was promoted to major general Oct. 1, 1986, with the same date of rank and retired from the USAF on July 1, 1993.
(source: https://www.af.mil/About-Us/Biographies/Display/Article/106646/major-general-william-k-james/)

Units Assigned

  • 7/1959 Commissioned into the U.S. Air Force through the Reserve Officers Training Corps program, received his pilot wings
  • 7/1959-1965 instructor pilot, officer training instructor,flight examiner, Greenville AFB, MS/Moody AFB, GA
  • 1965-1968 494th Tactical Fighter Squadron/48Tth Tactical Fighter Wing, Lakenheath RAFB, England
  • 1969 531st Tactical Fighter Squadron/3rd Tactical Fighter Wing, Bien Hoa AB, Vietnam (F-100)
  • 12/1969 474th Tactical Fighter Wing, flight commander, squadron weapons officer, squadron chief of training and scheduling, and standardization-evaluation flight examiner, Nellis AFB, NV
  • Headquarters Allied Forces Central Europe, Plans Division, Nuclear Operations Branch, Brunssum, Netherlands
  • 55th Tactical Fighter Squadron/20th Tactical Fighter Wing, at Royal Air Force Station Upper Heyford, England
  • 5/1978 National Guard Bureau, chief of the Plans, Operations, and Readiness Division, Air Directorate, Washington, DC
  • 27th Tactical Fighter Wing, commander, Cannon AFB, NM
  • 552nd Airborne Warning and Control Wing, Commander, Tinker AFB, Oklahoma; commander of the 552d Airborne Warning and Control Division; and commander of the newly activated
  • 28th Air Division, Commander, Tinker AFB, CA
  • 9/1986 3rd Air Force, commander, RAFS Mildenhall, England, as commander of 3rd Air Force
  • Headquarters Tactical Air Command, deputy chief of staff for operations, Langley AFB, VA.
  • U.S. Southern Command, deputy commander in chief, Panama
  • 6/1990 Defense Mapping Agency, Director
  • 7/1/ 1993 Retired USAF

Awards & Decorations

Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross
Meritorious Service Medal
Air Medal (with 8 Oak Leaf Clusters)
Air Force Commendation Medal
Presidential Unit Citation
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters)
Combat Readiness Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal (with 4 Service Stars)
Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon (with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters)
Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal

Flight Info

T-33
T-37
A-7
A-10
F-100
F-111
F-15
EC-135
E-3

Military Education

  • 1964 Squadron Officer School
  • 1973 Armed Forces Staff College
  • 1978 Air War College

Civilian Education

  • 1958 BS/Geology, Southern Methodist University
Biography

Biography

Major General William K. James was the director of the Defense Mapping Agency, Fairfax, VA.
General James was born in 1935, in Hope, Ark. He earned a bachelor of science degree in geology from Southern Methodist University in 1958. The general completed Squadron Officer School in 1964, Armed Forces Staff College in 1973 and Air War College in 1978.
Upon graduation from Southern Methodist University, he received a regular commission in the Air Force through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program as a distinguished graduate. He entered flight training at Bartow Air Base, Fla., in July 1958, and received his pilot wings at Greenville Air Force Base, Miss., in July 1959.
The general spent the next six years as an instructor pilot, officer training instructor, and standardization-evaluation flight examiner, flying T-33s and T-37s at Greenville Air Force Base and Moody Air Force Base, Ga. In September 1965 General James completed F-100 conversion training and was assigned to the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing, Royal Air Force Station Lakenheath, England. He transferred to the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing, Bien Hoa Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, in February 1969. During this tour of duty he flew 180 combat missions.
Returning to the United States in December 1969, General James was assigned to the 474th Tactical Fighter Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. While there he served successively as an F-111 flight commander, squadron weapons officer, squadron chief of training and scheduling, and standardization-evaluation flight examiner.
He graduated from the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Va., in January 1973 and was assigned to Headquarters Allied Forces Central Europe, Brunssum, Netherlands, as an action officer in the Plans Division, Nuclear Operations Branch. In December 1975 General James became commander of the 55th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 20th Tactical Fighter Wing, at Royal Air Force Station Upper Heyford, England.
After graduation from the Air War College as a distinguished graduate in May 1978, the general was assigned as chief of the Plans, Operations and Readiness Division, Air Directorate, National Guard Bureau, Washington, D.C. General James served as vice commander of the 27th Tactical Fighter Wing at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., from April 1980 to August 1980, when he became wing commander.
He was assigned as commander of the 552nd Airborne Warning and Control Wing, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., in September 1982 and remained commander of the organization when, in October 1983, it was redesignated as the 552nd Airborne Warning and Control Division. When the division reorganized in April 1985, General James became commander of the newly activated 28th Air Division, of which the 552nd Airborne Warning and Control Wing was a subordinate unit.
In September 1986 the general reported to Royal Air Force Station Mildenhall, England, as commander of 3rd Air Force. From July 1988 to July 1989 he was deputy chief of staff for operations, Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va. He then became deputy commander in chief for U.S. Southern Command, Panama, and served throughout Operation Just Cause. He assumed his present position in June 1990.
The general is a command pilot with almost 6,500 flying hours in the T-33, T-37, A-7, A-10, F-100, F-111, F-15, EC-135 and E-3. His military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with eight oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with two oak leaf clusters, Combat Readiness Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with four service stars, Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon with five oak leaf clusters, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, and Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.
He was promoted to major general Oct. 1, 1986, with the same date of rank and retired from the USAF on July 1, 1993.
(source: https://www.af.mil/About-Us/Biographies/Display/Article/106646/major-general-william-k-james/)

Units - Education - Awards - Flight Info

Units Assigned

  • 7/1959 Commissioned into the U.S. Air Force through the Reserve Officers Training Corps program, received his pilot wings
  • 7/1959-1965 instructor pilot, officer training instructor,flight examiner, Greenville AFB, MS/Moody AFB, GA
  • 1965-1968 494th Tactical Fighter Squadron/48Tth Tactical Fighter Wing, Lakenheath RAFB, England
  • 1969 531st Tactical Fighter Squadron/3rd Tactical Fighter Wing, Bien Hoa AB, Vietnam (F-100)
  • 12/1969 474th Tactical Fighter Wing, flight commander, squadron weapons officer, squadron chief of training and scheduling, and standardization-evaluation flight examiner, Nellis AFB, NV
  • Headquarters Allied Forces Central Europe, Plans Division, Nuclear Operations Branch, Brunssum, Netherlands
  • 55th Tactical Fighter Squadron/20th Tactical Fighter Wing, at Royal Air Force Station Upper Heyford, England
  • 5/1978 National Guard Bureau, chief of the Plans, Operations, and Readiness Division, Air Directorate, Washington, DC
  • 27th Tactical Fighter Wing, commander, Cannon AFB, NM
  • 552nd Airborne Warning and Control Wing, Commander, Tinker AFB, Oklahoma; commander of the 552d Airborne Warning and Control Division; and commander of the newly activated
  • 28th Air Division, Commander, Tinker AFB, CA
  • 9/1986 3rd Air Force, commander, RAFS Mildenhall, England, as commander of 3rd Air Force
  • Headquarters Tactical Air Command, deputy chief of staff for operations, Langley AFB, VA.
  • U.S. Southern Command, deputy commander in chief, Panama
  • 6/1990 Defense Mapping Agency, Director
  • 7/1/ 1993 Retired USAF

Awards & Decorations

Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross
Meritorious Service Medal
Air Medal (with 8 Oak Leaf Clusters)
Air Force Commendation Medal
Presidential Unit Citation
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters)
Combat Readiness Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal (with 4 Service Stars)
Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon (with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters)
Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal

Flight Info

T-33
T-37
A-7
A-10
F-100
F-111
F-15
EC-135
E-3

Military Education

  • 1964 Squadron Officer School
  • 1973 Armed Forces Staff College
  • 1978 Air War College

Civilian Education

  • 1958 BS/Geology, Southern Methodist University
Photos
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