February 11, 1920
Tuskegee Airman Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James Jr. was born in Pensacola, Florida. Expelled from Tuskegee Institute for fighting in 1937, James returned to the institute in 1942 to study and work as a civilian flight instructor with Charles “Chief” Anderson. The next year, James entered the military flying training program and served in the Air Force throughout World War II, though he saw no combat himself. During the Korean and Vietnam wars, he distinguished himself as a fighter pilot with a combined 179 combat missions. In 1975, James became the nation’s first African-American four-star general of any military service. He was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1993.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
Lt. Daniel “Chappie” James poses with his F-51 Mustang fighter plane during the Korean War. The plane is the same type flown by the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II, although it was known at that time as the P-51 for “pursuit.” (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, United States Air Force)
Col. Daniel “Chappie” James stands in front of his McDonnell-Douglas F-4C Phantom fighter jet in the mid-1960s. During the Vietnam War, James was stationed in Thailand and flew nearly 80 missions over Vietnam. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, United States Air Force)
Tuskegee Institute graduate Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James (1920-1978) became the first black four-star general in American military history. He was a Tuskegee Airman with the 477th Bombardment Group during World War II and later flew fighters in Korea and Vietnam. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of the Air Force Historical Research Agency)
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.