Retired Aug. 1, 1979. Died Aug. 7, 1999.
Brigadier General James Newton Portis is deputy assistant chief of staff, J-3 (Plans and Operations), United Nations Command/United States Forces, Korea, with headquarters in Seoul, Korea.
General Portis was born in 1930, in Munford, Tenn., and graduated from Byars-Hall High School, Covington, Tenn., in 1948. He attended the University of Tennessee, and received a bachelor's degree from the University of Omaha in 1966 and a master's degree in international relations from The George Washington University in 1971. General Portis is a graduate of the National War College in Washington, D.C., and the Air Command and Staff College and Squadron Officer School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
General Portis began his Air Force career as an enlisted man in 1950. He received his commission in 1953 after completing the pilot training program at Webb Air Force Base, Texas.
Between April 1954 and May 1958 General Portis served in Germany as a member of the 23d Fighter-Day Squadron and of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Aerial Demonstration Team, the Skyblazers. He flew F-86s and F-100s from his home base of Bitburg Air Base, Germany.
General Portis spent the next five years at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, as an operational test project officer in the U.S. Air Force Fighter Weapons School. He participated in operations during the Cuban crisis of October 1962, working out of Homestead Air Force Base, Fla.
From September 1964 to August 1965, General Portis was an operations staff adviser to the Vietnamese Air Force in Saigon. While serving in Southeast Asia, he flew combat missions in the A-1 attack aircraft.
After returning to the United States from Vietnam, General Portis was assigned to Tactical Air Command Headquarters at Langley Air Force Base, Va., from April 1966 to April 1969 as chief of the Long-Range Requirements Division in the Office of the Directorate of Requirements.
General Portis was commander of the 16th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., between April 1969 and June 1970. Under his command, the 16th TFS deployed to Turkey and Korea in support of U.S. Air Force commitments.
After graduation from the National War College in August 1971, General Portis was assigned to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans at Headquarters U.S. Air Force until June 1973. He held various staff positions in the Operational Test Analysis and Evaluation Division before becoming chief of the division.
General Portis was vice commander of the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., from June 1973 until Feb. 11, 1974, when he became wing commander. During his command, the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. He was named vice commander of the U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Warfare Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., in September 1975 and remained at that post until July 1977 when he assumed his present duty.
He is a command pilot with 4,000 flying hours in A-1s, F-80s, F-86s, F-100s and F-4s.
His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with oak leaf cluster, and Good Conduct Medal.
He was promoted to the grade of brigadier general on May 1, 1976, with date of rank April 28, 1976.
General Portis calls Covington, Tenn., his hometown.