Retired Aug. 1, 1972. Died Feb. 18, 1999.
Major General James B. Knapp is commander of Chanute Technical Training Center, Chanute Air Force Base, Ill.
General Knapp was born in 1915, in Macomb, Ill. He graduated from Blandinsville High School in 1932 and entered Transylvania University, Lexington, Ky., where he studied one year. He returned to Illinois for two years where he attended Western Illinois State Teachers College, majoring in chemistry. He was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., in 1935 and graduated in June 1939 with a commission as second lieutenant and a bachelor of science degree in engineering. He completed flying training at Kelly Field, Texas, in 1940.
The next two years he served as commander of a flying training detachment at the Army Air Corps Primary Flying School in Stamford, Texas. During World War II, General Knapp served in Italy with the Fifteenth Air Force as squadron commander, group deputy commander, and then commander. He completed 43 combat missions with a total of 303 flying hours. In 1944 he was assigned as chief of operations, Mediterranean Allied Air Forces, to coordinate and plan air actions of the Atomic Energy Commission.
In September 1945 he returned to the United States and was assigned to Headquarters Army Air Forces in Washington, D.C., where he served as staff planning officer and later as chief, Strategy Branch of War Plans Division, Office of the Assistant Chief of Air Staff for Plans. From July 1947 to July 1948 he was assistant to chief of Plans Division, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. He next was executive secretary, Military Liaison Committee to the Atomic Energy Commission.
In June 1949, General Knapp went to Chatham Air Force Base, Ga., as deputy commander and then commander, 2d Bombardment Group. In June 1951 he was assigned to Second Air Force, Barksdale Air Force Base, La., as staff officer and then director of operations. He entered the Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in August 1952.
General Knapp went to Goose Air Base, Labrador, in August 1953, as base commander and in April 1957 assumed command of the 4082d Strategic Wing.
He returned to the United States in June 1957 and was appointed director of civil engineering for Strategic Air Command Headquarters, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. In July 1963 he assumed command of Sixteenth Air Force with headquarters at Torrejon, Spain. He returned to Headquarters Strategic Air Command, in October 1964, as director of personnel and in July 1966 became chief of staff. From January 1969 to August 1969 he served as senior member, Military Armistice Commission, United Nations Command, at Seoul, Korea.
General Knapp assumed command, in August 1969, of Chanute Technical Training Center, Chanute Air Force Base, Ill.
His military decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Presidential Unit Citation Emblem, and French Croix de Guerre.
He is a registered professional engineer in the states of Nebraska and Colorado, and received an honorary doctor of science degree from Parsons College, Iowa, in 1959.
He was promoted to the temporary grade of major general effective March 7, 1961, with date of rank July 1, 1956.