Retired. Died Dec. 23, 1978.
James Somers Stowell was born in Syracuse, N.Y., in 1900. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy and was commissioned a second lieutenant of Infantry June 12, 1924.
His first assignment was at Fort Williams, Maine, where he served with the Fifth Infantry until August 1925, when he moved to Fort McKinley, Maine, where he became battalion adjutant of his regiment. In April 1927 he was ordered to Fort Benning Ga., to join the 28th Infantry for three months, after which he want to Brooks Air Force Base, Texas, for ground school training and flying instruction. He then went to Kelly Field, Texas, where he graduated from the Air Corps Advanced Flying School. In June 1928 he was assigned to Rockwell Field, Calif., where he commanded the headquarters detachment of the Seventh Bombardment Group. In October of that year he was transferred to the Air Corps.
In the fall of 1929 General Stowell entered the Air Corps Technical School of Chanute Field, Ill., and graduated the following July. He then was sent to Nichols Field, Philippine Islands, where he served as supply officer and as adjutant of the 66th Service Squadron. In July 1932 he was again stationed at Chanute Field, this time as instructor and director of the Department of Basic Instruction of the Air Corps Technical School. In July 1936 he entered the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field, Ala., and graduated in June 1937. He then went to Edgewood Arsenal, Md., where he completed the Field Officers Course at the Chemical Warfare School in August 1937.
General Stowell in June 1938 graduated from the command and general staff school at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and transferred to Randolph Field, Texas, where he commanded the Flying Cadet Detachment. He was named director of training at the Air Corps Basic Flying School at Randolph Field in March 1941, and became post executive officer in January 1942.
Soon afterward, General Stowell was transferred to Miami Beach, Fla., to organize and operate an officer candidate school and officer training school for the Air Force. In July 1942 he went to Greensboro, N.C., where he became chief of staff of the First District headquarters of the Air Force Technical Training Command. The following September he assumed command of Tarrant Field, Texas. He subsequently was designated to command the Central African Wing of Air Transport Command, and in July 1944 became commanding general of the North African Division of ATC, with station at Casablanca.
In September 1945 General Stowell was named commanding general of the North Atlantic Wing of ATC's Atlantic Division with station at Manchester, N.Y. He transferred in January 1946 to Atlantic Division headquarters at Fort Totten, N.Y. In July 1946 he was assigned to Air Materiel Command headquarters at Wright-Patterson Field, Ohio, and in September 1946 became engineering officer there. In May 1947 he was appointed chief of administration at Air Materiel command, and became acting executive secretary of the station in October 1947. Two months later he was designated chief of Personnel and Administration for Air Materiel Command.
General Stowell in January 1948 was appointed commanding general of the San Antonio, Texas Air Materiel Area with headquarters at Kelly Air Force Base, San Antonio. The following August, in addition to his other duties he was designated chairman of the Southwest Area Subcommittee of the Committee on Facilities and Services, Munitions Board. He was named commanding general of the Flying Division of Air Training Command, with station at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, in October 1948. A year later the Flying Division was eliminated and he became deputy commander for flying training of Air Training Command, with station at Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
In March 1950 General Stowell was appointed deputy commanding general of the Continental Division of Military Air Transport Service, with station at Kelly Air Force Base, and two months later became commander of the Continental Division.
General Stowell has been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit and Air Medal. He is rated a command pilot, combat observer and aircraft observer.
(Up to date as Oct. 11, 1951)