Retired July 1, 1956. Died June 25, 2003.
James Bell Burwell was born in Tarboro, N.C. in 1902, and graduated from high school at Charlotte, N.C. He then entered the U.S Military Academy from which he graduated on June 12, 1926 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Reserve.
Attending the primary flying school at Brooks Field, Texas, General Burwell graduated from the Advanced Flying School at Kelly Field, Texas in July 1927 and was assigned to the 43rd School Squadron at Kelly Field. In November 1931 he was transferred to the Third Pursuit Squadron at Clark Field, Philippine Islands.
In June 1935 the general returned to Kelly Field as assistant post adjutant, and a year later became adjutant of the Air Corps Training Center at Randolph Field, Texas. Entering the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field, Ala., in September 1938, he graduated in June 1939 and was named chief of the Air Section at the Cavalry School, Fort Riley, Kan. In April 1942 he assumed command of the Army Air Force Navigation School at Hondo, Texas.
Appointed chief of the Army Air Force Branch of the Operations Division, War Department General Staff in July 1942, in March 1945 General Burwell was assigned as chief of plans for the Army Air Forces in the Mediterranean Theater, and that July was named the chief of staff. In December 1945 General Burwell became assistant to the assistant chief of staff for operations of the Air University at Maxwell Field, Ala., and in January l946 was designated an instructor at the Command and Staff school there. Becoming chief of the Organization Division of that school in August 1946, the following February he was appointed assistant commandant, and in May 1947 became director of the Associate Course.
Entering the National War College in August 1947, the general graduated in June 1948 and was designated director of the Plans and Operations Division of the Caribbean Command at Quarry Heights, Canal Zone. In May 1950 he assumed command of the 30th Air Division at Selfridge Air Force Base, Mich., and in December 1950 was named deputy for operations of the Continental Air Command at Mitchel Air Force Base, N.Y.
His decorations include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster. He is rated a command pilot, combat observer and aircraft observer.