William H. James

William H. James, circa 1943
William H. James, circa 1943
Recent Address: 373 Reeds Gap Road, Northford, CT 06472
E-mail Address:
Family Info: Parents: John and May; Wife: Dr. Virginia S. James Daughter: Hillery S. James-Chung
Hometown: New Haven, CT
Date Entered Service: July 13, 1942
Service Number: O-575088
Bomb Group: 40th, 444th, XX Bomber Command HQ
Squadron: 25th, 676th
Location of Unit: Davis-Monthan Field, Tuscon, AZ
Missions Flown: No combat missions--just transfers from India to China and back when missions were to be flown.
Hump Missions:
Awards: Asiatic-Pacific Service Medal,WWII Victory Medal,American Service Medal,Distinguished Unit Badge,Air Offensive Japan
Service Schools: Aircraft Mechanics School, Goldsboro, NC 1942; Officer Candidate School, Miami, FL 1943; Army Air Force Intelligence School, Harrisburg, PA 1943
MOS: Combat Intelligence Officer
Rank Upon Discharge: Major
Crew Type: Intelligence
Airplane Serial No.& Name:
Where You a POW?:
POW Location:
Where You a Interned?:
Internment Location:
Date Transferred from the 58th: February, 1946
Date Discharged:
Post WWII Service: After the war temporarily stayed in Reserves as Commanding Officer of 9239th VART Squadron, Flight A, Intelligence. Promoted to Major.
Post WWII Civilian Occupation(s): Ph.D., Brown University, 1933; MA, Yale University, 1948; Ph.D., Yale, 1954. Teaching Principal, Supervising Principal, and School Superintendent, Easton, CT 1946-1958; Superintendent of Schools, Branford, CT 1958-1966; Associate Director of Connecticut Commission for Higher Education, Hartford, CT 1966-1977; Major Responsibilities: Scholarships and Accreditation; 1977-1994 Adjunct Professor at primarily five different colleges and universities: Major subjects: macroeconomics, management, labor-management relations, etc. Teacher and Educational Administrator -- Elementary and Secondary for sixty years, 1933-1994. Listed in Marquis Who's Who In the World.
Thoughts About the 58th: As a Combat Intelligence Officer with the 58th Bomb Wing of the 20th Bomber Command I had many memorable experiences in the United States, Australia, India, China, and on Tinian Island in the Pacific. My first assignment was with the 444th Bomb Group which was stationed at Davis-Monthan Field in Tucson, and I was with the 444th when I was transferred to India. While in India I was temporarily assigned to the 20th Bomber Command Headquarters in Kharagpur, India, and then to the 40th Bomb Group which later was transferred to Tinian Island. For various reasons I had many supplementary duties. Two of the most interesting duties were related to Escape and Evasion activities throughout various parts of Asia and then, later, to Air-Sea Rescue activities in the Pacific. This latter duty brought me in contact with many men in both the Air Force and the Navy. In retrospect, it was always gratifying to be a part of the 58th Bomb Wing which had such a significant role in determining the outcome of the war in the Pacific. I have a deep sense of sadness in regard to the many brave men who lost their lives in that war. On a more personal note, I had many memorable experiences but the biggest one was the opportunity to know and serve with many great men. I feel very fortunate to have had that inspiring and wonderful experience.
My thoughts about World War II-before the war, during the war, and since then- undoubtedly were and are somewhat unique. That uniqueness arose, in part, as a result of some personal experiences in Europe during the late 1920s, experiences which caused me to start studying many subjects related to war, peace, and the rise and fall of nations. As it happened, under the pseudonym James H. Williams the Danbury News-Times published two of my newspaper columns, one on November 17 and the other on November 21, 1941. In the first column there was the sub-heading “Japanese Crisis is Real.” In the second column there were the words, “Soon the United States may be at war.” Nobody responded, possibly because nobody believed me. However, about three weeks later, on December 7, 1941, the Japanese conducted a surprise attack on the United States at Pearl Harbor. Eight battleships were damaged, five were sunk, 2,335 servicemen and 68 civilians were killed, and over 1,100 people were wounded. The United States was then at war, just within the maximum five-year span of time I had forecast in 1936 and only about three weeks after my forecasts and warnings in the Danbury News-Times. Many men and women \Jvjere called to arms. Many new military units, including the 20th Bomber Command and the 58th Bomb Wing, were created and became mighty instruments of war. I enlisted in that war. My work and many of my thoughts were related to immediate responsibilities. Some other thoughts, however, were related to evolving worldwide affairs and I was deeply concerned, particularly in regard to the rising power of the Soviet Union.
I am still forecasting. For example, just before the United States conducted a pre-emptive military attack upon Iraq, I wrote many Congresspeople and, in the first paragraph of the communication said that “The United States is not ready for war politically, diplomatically, economically, and geopolitically, and it hasn't been ready for years.” I cautioned that the projected short war in Iraq could become a long war and then added, “It can also be expected that many other nations such as China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, North and South Korea, and others can continue building their strengths and relative strategic power while the United States continues to exhaust and weaken itself in war and nation-building.” I doubted the existence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq and ended the communication with this sentence, “The United States and many people would be well served if the proponents of war with Iraq were to draw back from that war, wait for further evidence of evil intent from Iraq or elsewhere, decide for peace for the present, and build the United States.”
Unfortunately, but realistically, the internal and external problems now threatening the United States cannot be resolved, even in part, by a modem and even more powerful 58th Bomb Wing, or anything like it, with all of its great and brave men who were dedicated to the survival and progress of a great nation, the United States of America. In my case, I can have complex and inspiring memories of the 58th Bomb Wing and its great men, but I believe we are in a new era of national and world affairs. The nation is at risk.
Mr. James passed away August 19, 2014 and is buried at Northford Cemetery, Northford, CT. At the time of his death, he was 104 years old and the oldest living WWII veteran in the state of Connecticut.

58th Bomb Wing Veterans Index
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