Retired April 1, 1973.
Lieutenant General James Valentine Edmundson is deputy commander in chief, U.S. Readiness Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.
General Edmundson was born in Hollywood, Calif., in 1915. He attended high school in Santa Monica, Calif., and continued his education at Santa Monica Junior College, graduating in 1934. He entered flying training in February 1937 and was commissioned as second lieutenant in February 1938.
His first active duty assignment was with the 17th Attack Group, March Field, Calif. From there he was assigned to Hickam Field, Hawaii, where, from August 1940 to 1942, he served in various positions, including commander, Flight B, 26th Bombardment Squadron. It was while with the 26th Squadron that General Edmundson was credited with sinking one of the first Japanese submarines in World War II.
In June 1942 he went to the Solomon Islands with the 11th Bombardment Group. He commanded the 431st Bombardment Squadron and later became deputy group commander.
Returning to the United States in February 1943, General Edmundson served briefly at the Pentagon and went overseas to the Eighth Air Force in the United Kingdom. He was ordered home from England to the B-29 program and became one of the first ten pilots to check out in the B-29 Superfortress. He then took command of the 792d Bombardment Squadron, 468th Bombardment Group, at Smoky Hill Army Air Base, Kan., and in 1944 went with the group to the China-Burma-India Theater. Shortly thereafter he was named deputy group commander and in November 1944 became commander.
He returned to the United States in July 1946 for duty with the Air Policy Branch in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Organization in the Pentagon. He attended the Air War College from August 1948 to June 1949, and then was assigned to the 22d Bombardment Group, March Air Force Base, Calif., and in March 1950 became commander.
On July 1, 1950, the 22d Group was ordered to Korea and by July 4th the first aircraft was enroute. The 22d Group returned to the United States in November 1950.
From March to November 1952, General Edmundson served as director of operations for the Strategic Air Command's Fifteenth Air Force at March Air Force Base, Calif. He then commanded the 92d Bombardment Wing at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., until March 1954 when he was named acting commander and later commander of the 57th Air Division at Fairchild.
He was reassigned in January 1955 to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., where he commanded the 36th Air Division until his assignment to Strategic Air Command Headquarters as deputy director of operations in February 1957, and became director of operations in July 1958.
In February 1960 he was assigned as deputy director, personnel procurement and training, in the Office of Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, and in August 1960 he assumed duties as director. While serving in this capacity, he completed the Army Basic Parachute Jump School at Fort Benning, Ga., in February 1962.
In June 1962 General Edmundson assumed command of the Seventeenth Air Force, U.S. Air Forces in Europe at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. He was qualified and maintained his proficiency in all tactical aircraft assigned to the Seventeenth Air Force.
In October 1964 he was assigned to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Administration) as director for inspection for inspection services.
General Edmundson served as vice commander in chief, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, from August 1967 to February 1970. He became deputy commander in chief, U.S. Strike Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., in February 1970, with additional duties as U.S. commander in chief, Middle East/Southern Asia and Africa south of the Sahara. When U.S. Strike Command was redesignated as U.S. Readiness Command in January 1972, he continued duties as deputy commander in chief for the command.
His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal (Army design), Distinguished Service Medal (Air Force design), Silver Star, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross with six oak leaf clusters, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal with seven oak leaf clusters, Navy Commendation Medal, and the Purple Heart.
He is a command pilot with more than 10,000 flying hours. During World War II he flew 107 combat missions, and during the Korean War he flew 32 combat missions.