Retired Oct. 1, 1994.
Brigadier General James L. Cole Jr. is chief of safety, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
General Cole was born in 1942 and is from Wheatland, Wyo. He earned a bachelor's degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1964, and master's degrees in history from Ohio State University in 1970 and business administration from Auburn University in 1979. He completed Armed Forces Staff College in 1975, Air War College in 1979 and the executive development program at Cornell University in 1988.
After graduating from pilot training at Craig Air Force Base, Ala., In September 1965, the general served as an EC-121H first pilot at Otis Air Force Base, Mass. From October 1966 to September 1967 he was assigned to the 4th Air Commando Squadron, Da Nang Air Base, South Vietnam, where he flew as an AC-47 aircraft commander. He then served with the 1st Air Commando Wing, England Air Force Base, La., as an AC-47/C-47 instructor pilot.
He completed graduate school at Ohio State University in June 1970. The general then served as an assistant professor of history at the Air Force Academy. He entered Armed Forces Staff College in August 1974 and upon completion was assigned to Norton Air Force Base, Calif., as a C-141 pilot and flight examiner until July 1978. Upon graduation from Air War College in July 1979, General Cole returned to Norton. He first served as chief, Combat Operations, 63rd Military Airlift Wing, and in June 1980 became commander of the 53rd Military Airlift Squadron.
In September 1981 the general was assigned to the Joint Staff as chief, Caribbean Basin Branch, J-5, Plans and Policy Directorate, Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C. He served as vice commander, 438th Military Airlift Wing, McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., from April 1984 until August 1985, when he became commander, 89th Military Airlift Wing, Andrews Air Force Base, Md. General Cole returned to the Pentagon in May 1986 as special assistant for joint matters with the Joint Staff, Joint Chiefs of Staff. He then was inspector general, Headquarters Military Airlift Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., from July 1989 to April 1990, when he became assistant deputy chief of staff for operations. He assumed his present position in May 1991.
The general is a command pilot with 6,500 total flying hours, and a military parachutist. His military awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with 15 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal and Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with gold, silver and bronze stars.
He was promoted to brigadier general Sept. 1, 1989, with same date of rank.