Remembering General James

Jerry Stringer
Air Force News Agency

There was a hush over the audience. The Air Force men and women had assembled to hear a general officer speak – one with Korean War and Vietnam War combat missions under his belt. A granite figure of a man with what appeared to be a galaxy of stars on his shoulders walked to the front of the assembled group.

He was Daniel “Chappie” James. Anybody who served in the Air Force in the 1960s knew about General James from the air war in Vietnam. He had an aura about him that set him apart from others. And when he spoke, you could hear half a pin drop. For a young captain, it was an opportune time to be assigned to the Pentagon.

The general talked of patriotism and Americanism. You could feel the emotional vibes building inside. And when he finished, we gave him a standing ovation. We walked out standing taller and even more ready to defend our country.

General James certainly left a legacy as a true American and an Air Force leader. It’s appropriate to remember him during African-American History Month.

Other African-Americans have made their contributions to the defense of our country in all branches of the armed forces. And they join still others who have made their contributions to our society in scientific fields, in the diplomatic corps, in human rights advances – the list goes on.

In fact, you can put African-American history into two words – American history.