Retired Nov. 1, 1962.
James Rollo McNitt was born in Hartford, Mich., in 1910. He graduated from Hartford High School in 1928 and entered Western Michigan College in 1930 and later the University of Michigan. In 1934, he graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor of science degree in Engineering Physics.
He received his commission as a second lieutenant in the Reserve in June 1934. Still on reserve status, he was promoted to first lieutenant on July 20, 1937.
First Lieutenant McNitt was called to active duty Dec. 27, 1940. His first assignment was that of company commander of a Signal Construction Company in the U.S. Army Signal Corps.
He was placed on duty with the Air Corps as commander of a radar company soon after the start of World War II. In November 1943 he was transferred to the European Theater where he participated in six campaigns while serving with the 71st Fighter Wing.
In September 1947, Lieutenant Colonel McNitt was appointed chief of communications for the 12th Air Force, March Air Force Base, Calif. At the same location, in July 1948, he organized and commanded the 607th Tactical Control Group.
His next assignment was liaison officer for the Air Defense Command and in September 1949, he became commander of the 506th Aircraft Control and Warning Group at McChord Air Force Base, Wash.
After attending the Air War College in 1950-1951, he was assigned as chief liaison officer with the Air Defense Laboratory, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Cambridge Research Center, Cambridge, Mass.
In February 1952, Colonel McNitt went to Korea, where he was appointed director of communications and electronics at Headquarters Fifth Air Force and in December 1952, deputy for communications at Headquarters Japanese Air Defense Force, Nagoya, Japan.
Returning to the United States in July 1954, he was assigned to the Pentagon at Headquarters U.S. Air Force where he served with the Directorate of Communications and Electronics as chief of the Systems Engineering Branch and later as chief, Communications System Division. During his stay at Headquarters U.S. Air Force he did postgraduate work in Engineering Administration at The George Washington University, Washington D.C.
Assigned overseas to Hawaii in June 1957, Colonel McNitt served with the Headquarters commander in chief Pacific as assistant chief of staff communications and electronics. He was commander of the 6920th Security Wing in July 1968, and was promoted to brigadier general in June 1959.