Daniel "Chappie" James: Introduction (01:28)
James trained hundreds of African American aviators for WWII. He flew over 100 missions in Korea, 78 in Vietnam, faced down Muammar Gaddafi, and became the first black four star general in the Air Force.
James' Early Years (02:07)
James was born in 1920 in Pensacola, FL. His mother, Ms. Lilly, dominated the household, believed in education, and cultivated a "don't quit" attitude to overcome discrimination.
Tuskegee Experiment (04:19)
James tried to enlist as a pilot at the Pensacola Naval Air Station but was refused. He attended Tuskegee Institute and enrolled as a cadet at the civilian pilot training program. After graduation, he became a flight instructor and received a commission as first lieutenant.
Segregated Air Force (02:52)
James fought segregation with performance excellence and civil disobedience in the form of Operation Checkerboard. At Clark Air Force Base, he was the only black officer in his squadron; he often flew with Claude "Spud" Taylor.
Korean War (01:58)
James volunteered to fly support for South Korea and earned the Flying Cross. His son recalls his father's service and the death of Taylor. After the war, James fathered a third child and sought positions with more responsibility.
Positions of Authority (02:07)
James worked aggressively to advance his career; his goal was excellence. He was named Young Man of the Year, attended Command and Staff College, and became a staff officer at the Air Force headquarters.
Vietnam Conflict (02:25)
James became Col. Robert Olds Vice Commander of Operations in Vietnam. They converted the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing into one of the best combat fighter wings. James flew 78 combat missions.
James wrote an essay about patriotism, challenging people to work and sacrifice for freedom. Critics scorned James after his return from Vietnam. He received a command position in Libya and addressed threats by Muammar Gaddafi.
Four Star General (01:38)
James became Commander in Chief of the North American Air Defense Command and the first African American four star general in the Air Force, after the incident in Libya.
Credits: Legends of Air Power: Daniel "Chappie" James (00:31)
Credits: Legends of Air Power: Daniel "Chappie" James
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