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Gen. Daniel "Chappie" James Jr.

Gen. Daniel R. “Chappie” James Jr. (1920-1978), a Tuskegee Airmen who trained and served during World War II, in 1975 became the first African American to achieve the grade of four-star general. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Gen. Daniel R. “Chappie” James Jr. (1920-1978), a Tuskegee Airmen who trained and served during World War II, in 1975 became the first African American to achieve the grade of four-star general. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - Flight jacket and gloves worn by Daniel "Chappie" James, Jr. on display in the World War II Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - Flight jacket and gloves worn by Daniel "Chappie" James, Jr. on display in the World War II Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Gen. Daniel "Chappie" James Jr. was the U.S. Air Force's first African American four-star general. Upon being promoted to four-star grade on Sept.1, 1975, James was assigned as Commander in Chief North American Air Defense Command (NORAD), a position he held until his retirement on Feb. 1, 1978. He died 24 days later.

James -- who served in World War II, the Korean War and the Southeast Asia War -- summed up his thoughts on his role as an American serviceman:

"I've fought in three wars and three more wouldn't be too many to defend my country. I love America and as she has weaknesses or ills, I'll hold her hand."

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Please note Springfield Street, the road that leads to the museum’s entrance, is undergoing construction through the beginning of September. Expect lane reductions and some delays. Please follow the signs and instructions provided by the road crews.

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