Ever heard of Daniel “Chappie” James? James was born on February 11, 1920 in Pensacola, Florida. In 1937, he graduated from Pensacola’s Washington High School and enrolled in Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.
He graduated in 1942, earning his B.S degree in physical education. The following year, James earned his commission as a Second Lieutenant and became one of the first black pilots of the U.S Air Corps.
James had assignments in the Philippines, Korea and Vietnam. In 1975, James moved up to flag officer and was then promoted to the rank of four star general. He was known as the “Black Eagle” because of his ethics, hard work, and self determination.
In 1967 after receiving the George Washington Freedom Medal, James wrote an essay on what he stood for. “Today’s world situation requires strong men to stand up and be counted – no matter what their personal grievances are. Our greatest weapon is one we have always possessed – our heritage of freedom, our unity as a nation”, said James.
In 1970, James was promoted Brigadier General and became the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense. He served until his retirement in 1978.
On February 25, 1978, James died of a heart attack.
For more information visit: http://www.nationalaviation.org/our-enshrinees/james-jr-daniel/