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Doolittle, James Harold (14 December 1896–27 September 1993), aviator and air force commander, was born in Alameda, California, the son of Frank Henry Doolittle, a carpenter and gold prospector, and Rosa Shepard. Doolittle grew up in California and Alaska, where his parents moved in the gold rush of the period. He was educated in Nome, Alaska; at Los Angeles Junior College; and, for three years, at the University of California. He left the university at the beginning of his senior year when the United States entered World War I....

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James, Daniel, Jr. (11 February 1920–25 February 1978), U.S. Air Force officer, was born in Pensacola, Florida, the son of Daniel James, a migrant laborer and handy man, and Lillie Anna Brown, who operated a private elementary and junior high school. Nicknamed “Chappie,” James was the youngest of seventeen children. After completing high school in Pensacola, he attended Tuskegee Institute, an all-black college in Alabama. While at Tuskegee, he learned to fly in a government-sponsored program. He graduated with a degree in physical education in 1942. In November of that year he married Dorothy Watkins; they had three children....

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LeMay, Curtis Emerson (15 November 1906–01 October 1990), airman, was born in Columbus, Ohio, the son of Erving LeMay, an ironworker, and Arizona Carpenter. Desiring a military career yet unable to gain appointment to West Point, he enrolled in Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) while attending Ohio State University. LeMay left school without graduating to accept a commission as second lieutenant in the field artillery reserve on 14 June 1928. Inspired by ...

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Spaatz, Carl Andrew (28 June 1891–04 July 1974), first chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, was born in Boyertown, Pennsylvania, the son of Charles Spatz, a state senator, newspaperman, and printshop owner, and Ann Muntz. Years later, Carl Spaatz added an ...