By Christine Baldwin, Librarian
James, “Jim” Newell enlisted in the US Air Force in 1953 and retired as a Master Sergeant E-7. He had just quit high school and said he either had to enlist or go to reform school. He spent Basic Training at Sampson AFB in Geneva, NY. It was cold; zero to ten degrees and the wind blowing at 20-30 knots every day. Jim started out as a Loadmaster on C-119’s and ended his career as an Electronic Counter Measures Technician. His best assignment was flying as a crew member in EC-121’s out of McClellan AFB, Sacramento, CA. This is where he met his wife and started a family. His least enjoyable assignment was an unaccompanied tour of Libya at Wheelus AFB. Jim also served in Korea, Thailand, the Sahara Desert, the Belgian Congo, West Germany and of course in the “Cold War”.
The person who had the greatest influence on Jim’s military career was a Captain from Georgia. He was a natural leader and set Jim straight, showing him what it really means to be a man. Jim enjoyed being a member of the most professional group of men and women, devoted to the protection of their fellow citizens and upholding the US Constitution. The most important person in his life was Jim’s wife of 51 years. She was his guiding light and he misses her dearly.
After leaving the Air Force, Jim dairy farmed for five years on a family farm until he had a massive stroke. After recovering, he worked for his wife in her very successful Arts and Crafts business. They retired to an RV and Golf Resort in Casa Grande, AZ in 2003. After her death in 2009, Jim decided to come to AFRH-W in 2012. He is a very active participant of the Golf Course and by being here Jim can make his own decisions and not have his children worry too much about him.