Died June 11,1994
Maj. Gen. James William Humphreys Jr., is director, Space Medicine, Manned Space Flight, National Aeronautics and Space Administration. As director, he is responsible for providing manned space flight medical advice to the associate administrator for Manned Space Flight and for planning, developing and promoting the Manned Space Flight: medical program.
General Humphreys was born in Fredericksburg, Va., in 1915. He graduated from John Marshall High School in Richmond, Va., in 1931 and entered the Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Va., from which he graduated in 1935 with a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering. He then entered the Medical College of Virginia at Richmond, Va., and in 1939 graduated with a doctor of medicine degree.
He held a reserve commission in the cavalry from July 1936 until he entered active duty at Fort Thomas, Ky., in October 1940 as a member of the U.S. Army Medical Reserve. He has served continuously on active duty ever since. He received his commission in the U.S. Army Medical Corps in October 1940.
During World War II he served in various assignments mostly with troops of the Army Ground Forces until 1944 when he went to the European Theater of Operations as commanding officer of the 430th Medical Battalion. In 1945 he became commander of the 30th Medical Group. He was awarded the Legion of Merit for his activities in the ETO.
In 1946, shortly after his return from overseas, General Humphreys was appointed as medical and veterinary adviser to the Iranian Army, a position he held until June 1948. For his service to that country he was awarded the Order of Merit of Iran, 3d Grade, Class 1.
In July 1948 General Humphreys was assigned to Fitzsimons General Hospital at Denver, Colo., to complete his residency training in surgery which had been curtailed when he was called to active duty in 1940. At the conclusion of this training in June 1951, he was awarded a master of science degree in surgery from the graduate school of the University of Colorado.
He next served as chief of surgical services and chief, professional services, of the 2750th USAF Hospital, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, until August 1952, when he was reassigned to Brookley Air Force Base, Ala., as hospital commander and surgeon.
In July 1955 he was assigned as surgeon for the Thirteenth Air Force with headquarters in the Philippine Islands. For this service, he was awarded his first oak leaf cluster to the Legion of Merit.
General Humphreys returned from his oversea tour in September 1957 at which time he was appointed as director, Base Medical Services, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and assumed command of the U.S. Air Force Hospital at that installation.
In September 1960, he assumed command of the U.S. Air Force Hospital at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, and remained in that assignment until June 1965. During this period he also served as director, Land Based Medical Recovery Operations, and chief of medical specialists for Project Mercury and as consultant in Bioastronautics to the Air Force Eastern Range Division of Project Gemini.
In June 1965 he was assigned to Vietnam with the U.S. Agency for International Development as the assistant director for public health. During this assignment he was awarded the highest decoration given to foreigners by the Government of Vietnam, the National Order of Vietnam, Third Class, and also the Military Medal of Valor with Palm, and the Vietnamese Special Forces Parachutist Badge.
On June 1, 1967, General Humphreys assumed his present assignment as director of space medicine, Manned Space Flight, NASA, Washington, D.C.
General Humphreys is a diplomat of the American Board of Surgery, a member of the American College of Surgeons and a number of other societies in surgery and aerospace medicine. He has been awarded an "A" suffix to his Air Force specialty code, in Aerospace Medicine, signifying a national and international prominence in this specialty.
His decorations include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster; Airman's Medal; Air Medal; Order of Merit of Iran, Grade Three, Class I; the National Order of Vietnam, Third Class; and the Vietnam Military Medal of Valor with Palm, as well as the Vietnam Civic Action Medal, First Class.
(Current as of July 1, 1967)