Retired May 31, 1967. Died Aug. 18, 2004.
Brig. Gen. James H. Isbell is the commander, 2nd Air Force Reserve Region with headquarters at Andrews Air Force Base, Md.; an assignment which he received on Aug. 1, 1963.
General Isbell was born in Union City, Tenn., in 1914. He attended Union City High School and Union University.
He began his military career in 1933 when he enlisted in the Army to attend the West Point Preparatory School. A year later he entered the U.S. Military Academy. While there (1934-1938) he was a member of the Army football team - a team which he captained during his senior year.
General Isbell graduated from the academy in 1938 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Regular Army. He later entered pilot training at Randolph Field and Kelly fields, Texas. He received his wings in August 1939.
He remained at Kelly Field for two and a half years as an instructor. But in January 1942, the general like many of his contemporaries began moving rather frequently from one base to another as new installations were activated and new units organized.
In December 1943, he assumed command of the 458th Bombardment Group (a unit equipped with B-24 bombers) and the following month led his unit to England. During the war the group participated in more than 200 missions over enemy occupied Western Europe.
After the war, General Isbell spent three and a half years on the operations staff of the Air Training Command. In January 1949 he returned to England to serve on the operations and plans staff of the Third Air Force.
General Isbell's subsequent assignments included one year as a student of the Air War College; two years on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Staff; two years in the Directorate of Plans of the Air Staff; followed by a year as a student of the National War College.
In July 1958, General Isbell began a four year tour as chief of staff, and later, deputy commander of the Alaskan Air Command.
From Alaska he was assigned to Robins Air Force Base, Ga., to assume duties as chief of staff, Continental Air Command. He remained in that post until his assignment with the 2nd Air Force Reserve Region.
As region commander the general is responsible for the conduct of Air Force Reserve activities in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.
General Isbell wears the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star, Air Medal with two clusters and the French Croix de Guerre.