Early Role Model Kept Daniel ‘Chappie’ James Jr. on the Right Path


“When Dan, or ‘Little Chappie’ as some of his friends called him, left his mother’s school in 1933 and entered Washington High School, his new principal, Vernon McDaniel, provided him with an attractive role model. McDaniel, a dedicated educator who believed that schools for blacks must be on par with those for whites, was n illustrious father figure for his students. He not only memorized the phone numbers of all his students so as to be able to call their parents if they wee truant but he also drove his car past the honky-tonks and pleasure spots in the black ares during school nights and even on weekends to assure that his students remained home. A medium sized man, he carried a strap and could bring his problem students to heel quickly. ‘Here comes Mr. Mac,’ unsuspecting students, posing as adults on the town, could be seen running for safety in all directions.”

Source: Black Eagle General Daniel ‘Chappie’ James, Jr. by James R. McGovern University of Alabama Press, 1985, pages 19-20

Daniel ‘Chappie’ James: A Floridian Who Earned His Wings


By Douglas C. Lyons

On February 11, 1920, Daniel “Chappie” James Jr. was born in Pensacola. ┬áHaving come into this world in a military town, it should be no surprise he would go on to make history as the first African American to reach the rank of four-star general.

General Daniel “Chappie” James, Jr. in front of his McDonnell-Douglas F-4C Phantom in Thailand during the Vietnam War.

According to his official USAF bio, James once trained under the government-sponsored Civilian Pilot Training Program after graduating from Tuskegee Institute, the alma mater of many of the famed Tuskegee Airmen.

As a combat pilot, James flew 101 missions during the  Korean War. Upon his return to the States James began an impressive climb up the ranks of the U.S. Air Force. He took on each assignment with a work-ethic and sense of professionalism that seemed to guarantee advancement.

Upon receiving his four-star rank in 1975, James was assigned as commander in chief, NORAD/ADCOM. In that role, he had operational command of all U.S. and Canadian strategic aerospace defense forces. Aside from his stellar career in the military, James was known for his charitable work and his deep sense of American patriotism.

Douglas C. Lyons is the founder of www.blackinfla.com.

Photo Credit: Signaleer/English Wikipedia