Daniel “Chappie” James, Jr. learned to fly when he was a student at the Tuskegee Institute. His Air Force career began in 1943. James was an instructor pilot during World War II and a combat fighter pilot in Korea and Vietnam. He served in various administrative posts in the United States and around the world. Due to his exceptional abilities, James steadily advanced in rank. The African-American pilot made history when he became a four-star general. He was subsequently appointed commander of the NORAD and commander of all U.S. and Canadian strategic defense forces. During his military career, General James was well-known for his public speeches on patriotism and service. Excerpts of some of these speeches have been entered into the Congressional record.
In addition to his name, rank and theaters of combat, General James’ grave marker is inscribed with four stars and the Air Force Command Pilot Badge.