LTC James Cannon

Photo added by Anne Cady

LTC James Cannon

  • Birth 19 Aug 1918 Fort Calhoun, Washington County, Nebraska, USA
  • Death 13 May 2007 The Dalles, Wasco County, Oregon, USA
  • Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
  • Memorial ID 31768748

Lt. Col. James Cannon, USAF (Ret), was a Hood River, Ore., resident for 20 years. He died May 13, 2007, at the age of 88. Never a smoker, he battled lung cancer at home for eight and a half months and spent the last twelve days of his life at the Oregon Veterans Home in The Dalles, Ore.

Jim was born Aug. 19, l918, in Ft. Calhoun Twp., Neb., the son of James Leo and Ruth Emily (Nielsen) Cannon.

The family farmed in the area where he helped with chores and attended Long Creek School #8 and Blair High School. At age 18 he moved to Los Angeles, Calif.

His interest in aviation led to his enlistment in the Air Corp in June 1941; rather than waiting to be drafted into some other branch of the Army. After flight training he received his pilot wings and commission as a second lieutenant at Luke Field, Ariz., in August 1942.

Jim was deployed to England with the 354th Fighter Group in November 1943. They were the first group to fly the new P-51 Mustang and so were dubbed the "Pioneer Mustang Group." He flew combat missions over the European continent in support of the B-17/B-24 bombing campaign and the allied air offensive against Nazi Germany's Luftwaffe.

His plane was disabled by ground fire during a bomber escort mission to Berlin April 29, 1944. His aircraft was on fire and at a dangerously low altitude when he bailed out. He suffered burns to his hands, neck and face; some panels in his parachute and part of his clothing were burned away.

He was a prisoner of war in several camps including Stalag Luft III. Exactly one year later he was liberated by General Patton's tanks on April 29, 1945. After those harrowing incidents he always felt he was living on borrowed time.

Some of the medals he received include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, Air Medal with 6 Oak Leaf clusters and the Presidential Unit Citation.

After the war he chose to accept the appointment as a Regular Commissioned Officer and pilot in the U.S. Army Air Force. Later, when making the transition to jet aircraft at Williams Field, Ariz., he met his wife, Dorothy Burns; she was attending college at nearby Tempe, Ariz. After six weeks of courtship, they married on July 2, 1947.

Many duty stations followed, most notably: Elmendorf AFB, Anchorage, Alaska (when still a territory), the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., and HQS USAAFE, Wiesbaden, Germany.

While working at the Pentagon he was sent to observe an above-ground atomic bomb test in Nevada. After 24 years, Jim retired from the USAF at Rantoul AFB, Ill.

After his military service, Jim worked at the Nevada Test Site, 60 miles north of Las Vegas, where atomic bombs were tested. He was employed there many years as a security inspector pertaining to the enforcement of the Atomic Energy Commission security regulations.

He retired totally at age 60, living in Las Vegas until moving to Hood River in May 1987.

In earlier years he played tennis and golf, and was on several bowling teams. He enjoyed boating, fishing and camping while always pursuing the best camping facilities.

Around the house he could fix anything and did so promptly; was good with tools of any kind and kept the cars in top mechanical condition.

He dabbled in photography at one time and liked rock collecting. In the late 1950s he was active in amateur "ham" radio for several years; his call sign was KB7QMC.

Jim was a 32 degree Mason; life member Master Mason in Solomon Lodge #10 AF&AM of Ft. Calhoun, Neb., receiving his 50th year pin in 1998 in Hood River; life member Scottish Rite of Consistory of Albany, Ga.; and a member of Zelzah Shriners of Las Vegas, Nev.

He was a member of the 354th Fighter Group Association, Air Force Association, 9th Air Force Association, life member of the Military Officers Association of America, life member of the American Legion and a member of the Hood River Elks for a number of years.

Jim is survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, Dorothy Lee Cannon, of Hood River; son and daughter-in-law, James Leslie and Chiyo Cannon of Leesburg, Va.; daughter and son-in-law, Joanna Lee and Jay Campbell of Starbuck, Minn.; son Xander Lee Cannon of Hood River; sister, Katherine Yates of Santa Rosa, Calif.; sister-in-law, Tessie Cannon of Las Vegas, Nev.; and grandsons Kane Kiyo Cannon, Cody James Campbell and William Jay Campbell.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Robert Cannon; half-sister, Shirley (Cannon) Red, Brown; and half-brother James L. Cannon Jr.

Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va., July 12, with full military honors.

Memorial donations in Jim's memory may be made to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in care of Anderson's Tribute Center (Funerals, Receptions, Cremations), 1401 Belmont Ave., Hood River, OR 97031.


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  • Created by: L. Renee Briggs
  • Added: 27 Nov 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 31768748
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for LTC James Cannon (19 Aug 1918–13 May 2007), Find A Grave Memorial no. 31768748, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by L. Renee Briggs (contributor 10165811) .