Retired Sep. 1, 1974. Died Feb. 12, 2000.
Lieutenant General James C. Sherrill is commander in chief, Alaskan Command, with headquarters at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. He also is commander, Alaskan North American Air Defense Command/Continental Air Defense Command (NORAD/CONAD) Region.
General Sherrill was born in 1920, in San Marcos, Texas, where he graduated from San Marcos High School in 1937. He enrolled in Southwest Texas State College the same year. In October 1940 he entered military service as an aviation cadet and received his pilot wings and commission as second lieutenant in May 1941. Between 1941 and 1945, he served at several bases across the United States as a flying instructor and aircraft maintenance officer. In February 1945 he went to Okinawa as a squadron commander, where he later became assistant chief of staff, intelligence, 316th Bombardment Wing.
After returning to the United States in 1946, he attended Southern Methodist University and obtained a bachelor of science degree. In 1947 he attended the Air Command and Staff School at the Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., and served in several executive positions there. In 1949 he was assigned as instructor at the Air Force Special Staff School, Craig Air Force Base, Ala.
From July 1949 through September 1960, General Sherrill held a number of top-level posts in Headquarters U.S. Air Force and the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He served successively as executive officer to the Air Force vice chief of staff; the Air Force chief of staff; and the chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. In these positions he was involved in formulation of high-level Air Force and department of defense policy.
In 1956 as executive officer for the Air Force chief of staff, General Sherrill was responsible for planning an official military visit to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic -- the first such visit since World War II. The success of the trip in showing the Soviet Union this country's determination, sincerity and military capability was, in a large measure, attributed to his careful planning and diplomacy.
General Sherrill was assigned to Military Air Transport Service headquarters in October 1960. He served as chief of staff to the commander of MATS until July 1961 when he was reassigned as commander of the 1608th Air Transport Wing, Charleston Air Force Base, S.C.
In July 1964 General Sherrill returned to MATS headquarters as deputy chief of staff, plans. In that position he was responsible to the commander, MATS, for all war plans, intelligence, programming, policy planning, organization, and manpower for the worldwide MATS command.
In August 1965 General Sherrill was initially assigned to the Organization of Joint Chiefs of Staff as deputy director for logistics (transportation). He was assigned in November 1966 to organize and direct a new OJCS function known as the special assistant for strategic mobility.
In June 1968 he was assigned as commander of the Twenty-second Air Force, Travis Air Force Base, Calif. In that position he was responsible for the control of Military Airlift Command airlift aircraft and facilities from the Mississippi River westward to the eastern border of India.
General Sherrill became vice commander of the Military Airlift Command with headquarters at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., in February 1970. He assumed duties as commander in chief, Alaskan Command at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, in August 1972.
He is a command pilot with more than 6,000 flying hours. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Army Commendation Medal and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon.