Black Wings Audio Tour

National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

This podcast tells the story of the many significant contributions of African American members of the U.S. Air Force. read less


Black Wings Tour: Lt. Gen. Daniel James III
Black Wings Tour: Lt. Gen. Daniel James III
Stand near the Tuskegee Airmen exhibit in the World War II Gallery. Daniel James III is the first African-American to hold the post of Director of the Air National Guard. He assumed that command in 2002 following a flying career that included more than 300 combat missions in Southeast Asia and 4,000 flying hours. He is the son of Daniel “Chappie” James Jr., who was the U.S. Air Force’s first African-American four-star general. James was commissioned in 1968 and served as a forward air controller during the Southeast Asia War. In 1969- 1970 he logged more than 500 combat hours flying O-1E Bird Dog aircraft based at Cam Ranh Bay, Republic of Vietnam. Returning to Southeast Asia in 1974-75, he served as a squadron assistant flight commander at Udorn Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, flying as a fighter pilot in F-4 Phantom aircraft. Promoted to lieutenant general in 2002, James became the 11th director of the Air National Guard that year following his nomination by President George W. Bush and U.S. Senate confirmation. As ANG director, James was responsible for more than 104,000 Airmen in 88 flying units in the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands. Among his numerous awards are the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, two Distinguished Flying Crosses and seven Air Medals. James has also received several service awards for his work as a community leader. He retired from military service on May 10, 2006.