Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

2010 USAFA Distinguish Graduate Citation

This is the citation on the plaque awarded to Max James as the USAF Academy's 2010 Distinusihed Graduate

Max F. James

Class of 1964

Max F. James exhibited a lifetime of service to his country—a testament to the core values of the Air Force Academy. Following graduation, his military service was replete with multiple instances of valor, courage, and distinction. He volunteered to be a Jolly Green rescue pilot. During his tour in Southeast Asia, he flew more than 200 combat missions and was shot down twice, earning three Distinguished Flying Crosses and eight Air Medals. One of his proudest accomplishments was being personally responsible for the extraction of 10 downed aircrew members, including one of his own classmates. Following his Air Force commitment, Mr James earned an MBA from Stanford University and entered the business world where he continued to exhibit outstanding traits and great business acumen. He served as the Chairman of the Board of the Salt Lake City International Center and other multi-faceted real estate organizations. As Executive Vice President of Days Inns of America, he built, owned and operated 18 hotels. His various interests then led him into the specialty retail industry where his companies owned and operated specialty retail operations in more than 800 locations in Canada and the US, with gross sales of almost $200 million annually. He was the first inductee into the $25 billion Specialty Retail Hall of Fame. As he prospered, Mr James shared his good fortune with others. He was chairman and founder of Camp Soaring Eagle Foundation, which provided medically-based camping experiences for chronically and seriously ill children at no cost to the families; he was actively involved with St Jude’s Children’s Hospital, served on its CEO Advisory Board, and co-sponsored their associated annual Liberty Bowl golf tournament; and he instituted and funded scholarship programs for his employees through the years. Additionally, he was a Founding Board Director of the USAFA Endowment and a major donor to the Academy’s Center for Character and Leadership Development. His lifetime of outstanding accomplishments, impressive generosity and personal commitment to the heritage and success of the Air Force Academy have set him apart from his fellow graduates and made him worthy of this singular recognition.
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