Died February 15,1995
Major General James F. Kirkendall is commandant of the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va. The college is a joint institution operated under the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with administrative support and services provided by the Department of the Navy.
General Kirkendall was born in Omaha, Neb., in 1920. He graduated from high school in Glenwood, Iowa, in 1937, and from the University of Nebraska with a bachelor of science degree from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
His military career began in October 1941, when he entered aviation cadet training. He attended pilot training at Stamford, Randolph and Kelly fields, Texas, and graduated with a commission as second lieutenant in July 1942.
He then was assigned to the 324th Fighter Group and, after a period of training, served two years in combat with that organization, first in the Middle East, then in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Corsica and France. He flew 150 combat missions during World War II.
In 1945 he returned to the United States, attended Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and after several assignments was assigned in August 1946 to Headquarters Tactical Air Command at Langley Field, Va. In March 1948 he became commander of the 12th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron at March Air Force Base, Calif., one of the first jet tactical reconnaissance squadrons.
In March 1949 General Kirkendall was given command of the 40th Fighter Squadron, 35th Fighter Group, at Yokota Air Base, Japan. When the Korean War started, his squadron was one of the first ordered into combat. While in Korea, from 1950 to 1951, he flew 104 combat missions.
He returned to the United States in 1952 and was assigned to the newly organized Air Defense Command and spent six years in that command. From January 1952 to September 1954, he was chief, Combat Planning Division, and then director of plans, Headquarters Eastern Air Defense Forces, Stewart Air Force Base, N.Y., and the next four years was chief of plans at Headquarters Air Defense Command and Headquarters North American Air Defense Command, Ent Air Force Base, Colo.
General Kirkendall next attended the Air War College, graduating in June 1959, and then was assigned to the Weapons System Evaluation Group, Office of the Director of Defense Research and Engineering, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington, D.C. In June 1961, he was assigned to the Directorate of Plans, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. In June 1962, he entered the National War College in Washington, D.C., graduating in June 1963.
He served from June 1963 to June 1966 as executive officer to the U.S. Air Force chief of staff. He then became commander of the 47th Air Division (Strategic Air Command), Castle Air Force Base, Calif. In December 1966, General Kirkendall was assigned as the assistant deputy chief of staff, operations, Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va.
In June 1969, he went to Southeast Asia as deputy chief of staff for operations, Headquarters Seventh Air Force (Pacific Air Forces) at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Republic of Vietnam. He assumed duties as deputy commander, Seventh/Thirteenth Air Force with headquarters at Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, in April 1970.
General Kirkendall was appointed commandant of the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va., in November 1970.
His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal with 13 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Unit Citation Emblem, Republic of Vietnam Distinguished Service Order, Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, United Nations Service Medal, and the French Croix de Guerre. He is a command pilot with more than 5,000 hours flying time.
General Kirkendall's hometown is Haverton, Pa. He was promoted to the grade of major general effective March 1, 1969 with date of rank Dec. 10, 1964.
(Current as of Jan. 1, 1973)