Daniel James Jr. was born in Pensacola, Florida back in 1920 to Daniel and Lillie. His father worked for the Pensacola city gas company, his mother was a high school teacher. He graduated in 1942, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical education. He joined the Aviation Cadet Program of the US. Army Air Forces in 1943.
He stayed as a training instructor for pilots in the Army Air Corps. He completed P-40 Warhawk training and the B-25 Mitchell training. He was with the 617th Bomb Squadron of the 477th Bomb Group. In 1949, he was assigned flight leader with the 12th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, stationed in the Philippines. During the Korean War, he flew 101 combat missions in the P-51 Mustang and the F-80 aircraft.
By 1966, he had made his way to deputy commander of operations, stationed in Thailand. He retired in 1978, dying, shortly after the same year, he was 58.
What you may not know about Daniel is that he was the first African American to reach the rank of four-star general in the armed forces. He received the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, two Air Force Distinguished Service Medals, two Legion of Merits, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, Meritorious Service Medals, along with fourteen other Air Medals.
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