Roberts, James

State: TN

Units: 118th Wing, Nashville, TN


Years Of Service: 38

Brig Gen Roberts began his military career in June 1948 upon enlistment in the Tennessee Army National Guard. He enlisted in the Air Force in January 1951, completed the USAF Aviation Cadet Pilot Training Program in F-51 aircraft and graduated as a second lieutenant at Craig AFB, Alabama in June, 1952. He attended aircrew upgrading in the T-33 and F-84 aircraft and courses in atomic weapons delivery and fighter celestial navigation, becoming combat ready in strategic fighter operations. He served with Strategic Air Command’s 27th Fighter Wing at Misawa AFB, Japan in 1952-1953 and Bergstrom AFB, Texas, 1953-1955. During his Air Force active duty he was a flight commander and held positions in safety, maintenance, mobility and supply offices.

In January 1956 General Roberts joined the Tennessee Air National Guard as a first lieutenant in the 105th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Nashville, TN. He was promoted to captain in June 1958. He became squadron operations officer in August 1959, squadron maintenance officer in February 1960, and Chief of Maintenance in February 1961. From May 1969 to March 1977 he commanded the 118th Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. He was promoted to major in June 1963 and to lieutenant colonel in April 1970. During the years 1961-1971, General Roberts formulated and directed maintenance conversion programs from the RF-84F aircraft to the C-97 and C-124 aircraft flying the strategic airlift mission worldwide, and the C-130A airlift flying the tactical airlift mission. While maintaining status of flight examiner, instructor and aircraft commander he flew numerous strategic airlift support missions to the war in South Vietnam.

In March 1977 General Roberts was appointed Air Commander, Air Technician Detachment, Tennessee Air National Guard, Metropolitan Airport, Nashville, TN and was promoted to colonel 11 April 1977. He served concurrently as Vice Commander of the 118th Tactical Airlift Wing, which has units in Tennessee, Missouri, Delaware and Rhode Island. He was appointed Commander, 118th Tactical Airlift Wing, 1 January 1983. General Roberts is a Command Pilot with more than 7000 hours, presently mission ready in the C-130A “Hercules” aircraft.