Retired June 1, 1968. Died March 29, 1995.
James B. Tipton was born in Senath, Mo., in 1915. He graduated from Blytheville High School in 1933 and from the University of Alabama in 1938 with a bachelor of science degree in Aeronautical Engineering.
He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers Reserve through ROTC while still in college. He entered flying cadet training at Randolph Field, Texas, in July 1938 and received his wings at Kelly Field, Texas, in May 1939. Three months later he was awarded his regular commission. In June he returned to Randolph as an instructor pilot and remained with the rapidly expanding pilot training program until October 1943. During this period he supervised contract flying schools at Dallas, Brady and Ballenger, Texas.
His next assignment was with the 366th Fighter Bomber Group in England where he served as deputy commander. In April 1944 he assumed command of the 363d Fighter Group and later the 358th Fighter Group. During this time he flew 93 combat missions in P-47 and P-51 aircraft.
In July 1945 he accompanied the 358th back to the United States for re-equipage at LaJunta, Colo. The 358th was deactivated at the end of the war and he was reassigned to the Tactical Division of the Army Air Forces Board at Orlando, Fla.
He remained with this unit on its move to Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in mid-1946 where it became the Evaluation Division of the Air University. He left there in September 1947 to enter the Armed Forces Staff College. Upon graduation in 1948, he returned to Maxwell to become Tactical Operations Instructor at the Air Command and Staff School.
Although appointed to the 1950 class of the Air War College, the outbreak of the Korean War cancelled this class and in August 1950 he was assigned to the Far East Air Force Headquarters in Japan as war plans officer.
Early in 1951 he assumed command of the 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing at Itazuke Air Base, Japan, which moved into Kirripo Air Base (K-14), Korea, in April, and into Suwon (K-13) in September. During this period he flew 38 combat missions over North Korea in F-80 and F-84 jet fighters.
Returning to the United States in April 1952, he became assistant deputy chief of staff for operations at Tactical Air Command Headquarters at Langley Air Force Base, Va.
In 1954 he entered the National War College, Washington, D.C., and graduated a year later. He was then assigned to Headquarters, U.S. Air Force, as chief, long range objectives, in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Programs.
In 1958 he once more returned to Japan where he assumed command of the 3d Bomb Wing at Johnson Air Base. He was promoted to brigadier general on June 23, 1959 and two weeks later appointed commander of the 314th Air Division, Osan Air Base, Korea. Upon completion of his assignment in Korea, General Tipton was cited by the Republic of Korea with the Order of Military Merit Taegak in recognition of his leadership and active cooperation in the air defense of Korea.
In July 1961 General Tipton returned to the United States and assumed command of the Washington Air Defense Sector at Fort Lee, Va.
In July 1963 General Tipton was promoted to major general and assigned to U.S. Strike Command as Deputy Director, U. S. Strike Command Joint Test and Evaluation Task Force, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.
On Aug. 1, 1964, General Tipton assumed command of the 32nd NORAD/CONAD Region/Montgomery Air Defense Sector, Gunter Air Force Base, Ala. The mission of the 32nd Region is to protect a seven-state area in the Southeast U.S. against aerospace attack.
In November 1966 General Tipton was assigned as Commander, 6th Allied Tactical Air Force Detachment 5, Izmir, Turkey.
General Tipton is a command pilot with more than 5,000 flying hours. His decorations include the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters; Distinguished Flying Cross; Bronze Star; Air Medal with 15 oak leaf clusters; British Distinguished Flying Cross; Belgium Croix de Guerre with Palm; French Croix de Guerre with Palm, World War II Victory Medal; Korean Service Medal; United Nations Service Medal; and Korean Eulchi Distinguished Military Service Medal with silver star. On Dec. 4, 1962, General Tipton received the Sports Illustrated Silver Anniversary All America Award for achievement in athletics 25 years ago, and now in his chosen profession.