Eugene N. “Red” James, Major USMCR (Ret.)

Photo 1 - Obituaries in Milton, FL | Santa Rosa Press GazettePhoto 2 - Obituaries in Milton, FL | Santa Rosa Press Gazette

Eugene N. "Red" James, Major USMCR (Ret.)

Milton - Eugene N. "Red" James, Major USMCR (Ret.) age 99, passed away Sept 20th from natural causes in Milton, FL. Born in Brewton, AL, he was the oldest son of a 3rd generation Methodist minister and was raised in numerous small towns as he and his family moved around West Virginia.

He left college and enlisted in the Aviation Cadet program of the U.S. Navy in September 1942, graduated in the first aviator class at Whiting Field, was designated a Naval Aviator at NAS Pensacola, and commissioned a 2nd Lt in the U.S. Marine Corps in October 1943. He next continued F4U Corsair training at NAS Jacksonville, before being assigned to VMF-511 at MCAS Cherry Point, NC, from January 1944 to April 1945. During this time, he completed carrier training in California from July 1944 to February 1945. Lt James deployed to Hawaii in April 1945 joining VMF-311 "Hell's Belles" flying 36 combat missions in F4U-1 Corsairs from Okinawa from June to August 1945, followed by occupation duty in Japan from September 1945 until the fall of 1946. While training to fly the Corsair in Detroit, he met his beloved Dorothy Hedrick at a USO dance in May 1943, and after the war he left active duty, graduated from the University of Detroit, and they were married in January 1947. They lived in Hanford, California, and had two children before he was activated for the Korean conflict in December 1951. Capt James loved flying Corsairs and joined VMA-312 "Checkerboards" in Korea flying 101 combat missions from the aircraft carriers USS Badoeng Strait and USS Bataan in F4U-4 Corsairs. James was shot down twice including once when, with his windshield shot out, he had to return and land on the carrier with glass in his face and eyes, for which he received a Purple Heart. He returned to the U.S. in May 1953, settled down in Milton, having four more children, and became a Flight Instructor and other capacities at Whiting Field and NAS Pensacola until his discharge in June 1956. One of the Corsairs he actually flew is in the NAS Pensacola Museum fittingly painted Marines with Checkerboards, number 18. For his service, his awards include 7 Air Medals, 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses, and a Purple Heart. Later in life, James would occasionally tell combat stories and would still tear up when remembering friends who didn't make it out.

Red started a successful construction company and built several hundred homes around Milton, Tanglewood Country Club's clubhouse (then known as Rolling Greens), and he built the first Catholic Church in Milton, St Rose of Lima. He immersed himself in civic life and served as the President of the Chamber of Commerce, the Lion's Club, as well as the Navy League, Director of the United Way and the American Red Cross. He helped organize 1st Federal Savings and Loan and served on the board. He was Chairman of the Milton Housing Authority, named a Knights of Columbus Grand Knight, and on two occasions James was honored as Santa Rosa County's Man of the Year. He was known for his generosity including donations of land and other support to the church, Chamber of Commerce, and numerous other causes.

James is preceded in death by his beloved wife of nearly 73 years Dorothy (Hedrick) James, parents, Rev B.R. James and Julia (Morton) James, his siblings Rev B. R. James, II, John James, son Ralph James, and grandson Jonathon James. He is survived by his children Richard (Dick) James (Elise), Diann (James) VanGrowski (Vic), Bobby James, Randy James, and Michael James (Lisa), numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild. He was a beloved hero to his country, his community, and his family.

Rosary and Visitation will be at St Rose of Lima Catholic Church, Milton Fl, on Monday, Oct 4th from 5 - 7pm; Funeral Mass 11am Tuesday, Oct 5th at St Rose of Lima followed by a precession to a 2pm Burial at Barrancas National Cemetery; NAS Pensacola; 3:30pm Celebration of Life Reception at St Rose of Lima Parish Hall.

In lieu of flowers: please donate to St Rose of Lima building fund, 6451 Park Avenue, Milton, FL 32570, or to Red's great grandson via Caring for Kohlton James at gofundme.com

Posted online on September 29, 2021

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Photo 1 - Obituaries in Milton, FL | Santa Rosa Press GazettePhoto 2 - Obituaries in Milton, FL | Santa Rosa Press Gazette

Eugene N. “Red” James, Major USMCR (Ret.)

Eugene N. "Red" James, Major USMCR (Ret.)

Milton - Eugene N. "Red" James, Major USMCR (Ret.) age 99, passed away Sept 20th from natural causes in Milton, FL. Born in Brewton, AL, he was the oldest son of a 3rd generation Methodist minister and was raised in numerous small towns as he and his family moved around West Virginia.

He left college and enlisted in the Aviation Cadet program of the U.S. Navy in September 1942, graduated in the first aviator class at Whiting Field, was designated a Naval Aviator at NAS Pensacola, and commissioned a 2nd Lt in the U.S. Marine Corps in October 1943. He next continued F4U Corsair training at NAS Jacksonville, before being assigned to VMF-511 at MCAS Cherry Point, NC, from January 1944 to April 1945. During this time, he completed carrier training in California from July 1944 to February 1945. Lt James deployed to Hawaii in April 1945 joining VMF-311 "Hell's Belles" flying 36 combat missions in F4U-1 Corsairs from Okinawa from June to August 1945, followed by occupation duty in Japan from September 1945 until the fall of 1946. While training to fly the Corsair in Detroit, he met his beloved Dorothy Hedrick at a USO dance in May 1943, and after the war he left active duty, graduated from the University of Detroit, and they were married in January 1947. They lived in Hanford, California, and had two children before he was activated for the Korean conflict in December 1951. Capt James loved flying Corsairs and joined VMA-312 "Checkerboards" in Korea flying 101 combat missions from the aircraft carriers USS Badoeng Strait and USS Bataan in F4U-4 Corsairs. James was shot down twice including once when, with his windshield shot out, he had to return and land on the carrier with glass in his face and eyes, for which he received a Purple Heart. He returned to the U.S. in May 1953, settled down in Milton, having four more children, and became a Flight Instructor and other capacities at Whiting Field and NAS Pensacola until his discharge in June 1956. One of the Corsairs he actually flew is in the NAS Pensacola Museum fittingly painted Marines with Checkerboards, number 18. For his service, his awards include 7 Air Medals, 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses, and a Purple Heart. Later in life, James would occasionally tell combat stories and would still tear up when remembering friends who didn't make it out.

Red started a successful construction company and built several hundred homes around Milton, Tanglewood Country Club's clubhouse (then known as Rolling Greens), and he built the first Catholic Church in Milton, St Rose of Lima. He immersed himself in civic life and served as the President of the Chamber of Commerce, the Lion's Club, as well as the Navy League, Director of the United Way and the American Red Cross. He helped organize 1st Federal Savings and Loan and served on the board. He was Chairman of the Milton Housing Authority, named a Knights of Columbus Grand Knight, and on two occasions James was honored as Santa Rosa County's Man of the Year. He was known for his generosity including donations of land and other support to the church, Chamber of Commerce, and numerous other causes.

James is preceded in death by his beloved wife of nearly 73 years Dorothy (Hedrick) James, parents, Rev B.R. James and Julia (Morton) James, his siblings Rev B. R. James, II, John James, son Ralph James, and grandson Jonathon James. He is survived by his children Richard (Dick) James (Elise), Diann (James) VanGrowski (Vic), Bobby James, Randy James, and Michael James (Lisa), numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild. He was a beloved hero to his country, his community, and his family.

Rosary and Visitation will be at St Rose of Lima Catholic Church, Milton Fl, on Monday, Oct 4th from 5 - 7pm; Funeral Mass 11am Tuesday, Oct 5th at St Rose of Lima followed by a precession to a 2pm Burial at Barrancas National Cemetery; NAS Pensacola; 3:30pm Celebration of Life Reception at St Rose of Lima Parish Hall.

In lieu of flowers: please donate to St Rose of Lima building fund, 6451 Park Avenue, Milton, FL 32570, or to Red's great grandson via Caring for Kohlton James at gofundme.com

Posted online on September 29, 2021