Retired Aug. 1, 1988.
Brigadier General James M. Rhodes Jr. is commander of the Southeast Air Defense Sector, Tactical Air Command, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., a subordinate unit of the 24th Air Division, Griffiss Air Force Base, N.Y.
General Rhodes was born in 1937, in Santa Monica, Calif., and graduated from Bellevue (Neb.) High School in 1955. He is a member of the first class to graduate from the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he received a bachelor of science degree in 1959. The general earned a master's degree in systems management from the University of Southern California in 1970. He completed Naval Command and Staff College in 1972 and the Air War College in 1977.
After graduating from the academy in 1959, he entered military service with a regular commission as a second lieutenant. He began his flying career at Moore Air Base, Texas, and upon completing pilot training at Vance Air Force Base, Okla., was awarded his wings. From August 1960 to June 1961 the general attended advanced training in the F-100 Super Sabre at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., and Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
In July 1961 he transferred to the 7th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base, West Germany, where he flew F-100s and F-105s. General Rhodes returned to the United States in April 1963 and was assigned to the 563rd Tactical Fighter Squadron, McConnell Air Force Base, Kan., as an F-105 instructor pilot. During this tour he spent nearly five months on temporary duty as a fighter pilot at Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, and flew 65 combat missions over North Vietnam with the 563rd Tactical Fighter Squadron.
The general was assigned to the Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in January 1966. He graduated in January 1967 and remained at Edwards as an instructor, test pilot and, ultimately, program manager for the rocket-powered NF-104A Starfighter.
In July 1970 General Rhodes began training in A-37B's with the 6th Special Operations Squadron, England Air Force Base, La., prior to an assignment as a flight commander with the 8th Special Operations Squadron (Fighter) at Bien Hoa Air Base, Republic of Vietnam.
He returned from Southeast Asia in June 1971 to attend the Naval Command and Staff College. After graduating in June 1972 General Rhodes served as an air operations staff officer in the Fighter Branch, Directorate of Plans, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. He then attended the Air War College, graduating in June 1977, and became assistant deputy commander for operations, 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C.
General Rhodes transferred to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, Mons, Belgium, in June 1979 as executive officer, plans and policy. He became vice commander of the 10th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, Royal Air Force Station Alconbury, England, in July 1981 and assumed command of the wing in June 1982. In January 1984 General Rhodes was assigned to 4th Allied Tactical Air Force at Heidelberg, West Germany, as deputy chief of staff, support. In April 1985 he became command director for combat operations, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Cheyenne Mountain Complex, Colo. He served as commander of the 23rd Air Division, Tactical Air Command, Tyndall Air Force Base, from April 1986 until its deactivation July 1, 1987. Upon deactivation, the 23rd was designated as the Southeast Air Defense Sector. He assumed his present command in July 1987.
The general is a command pilot with more than 4,000 flying hours and more than 350 combat missions. His military decorations and awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with 12 oak leaf clusters, and Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster. General Rhodes received the David C. Schilling Trophy from the Air Force Association in September 1970 for the most outstanding contribution to flight in the previous year.
He was promoted to brigadier general July 1, 1985, with same date of rank.