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First Name: James

Last Name: Hartinger

Birthplace: Middleport, OH, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Middle Name: Vincent

Date of Birth: 17 April 1925

Date of Death: 09 October 2000

Rank: General

Years Served: 1943-1945 (Army), 1949-1984 (Air Force)
James Vincent Hartinger

Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1949

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


James Vincent Hartinger

General, U.S. Air Force

James Vincent Hartinger was born on 17 April 1925 in Middleport, OH, where he graduated from high school in 1943.

Hartinger was drafted into the U.S. Army in July 1943 and attained the rank of Sergeant while serving in the Infantry. Following World War II, he received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy. Upon graduation with the class of 1949, he received a Bachelor of Science Degree and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force.

He attended pilot training at Randolph AFB, TX, and Williams AFB, AZ, where he graduated in August 1950. He then was assigned as a jet fighter pilot with the 36th Fighter-Bomber Wing at F├╝rstenfeldbruck Air Base, Germany. In December 1952, he joined the 474th Fighter-Bomber Wing at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea. While there, he flew his first combat missions in F-84 Thunderjets.

Returning to Williams AFB in July 1953, he served as a Gunnery Instructor with the 3526th Pilot Training Squadron. Hartinger then transferred to Stewart AFB, NY, in August 1954 as a fighter pilot and Air Operations Officer in the 331st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron. During this period, he attended Squadron Officer School.

In July 1958, Hartinger began a four-year tour of duty in the Directorate of Requirements, Headquarters U.S. Air Force in Washington, DC. After receiving his Master's Degree in June 1963, he was assigned to Hickam AFB, HI, in the Directorate of Plans, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces.

Following graduation from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in June 1966, he completed F-4C Phantom replacement training with the 43rd Tactical Fighter Squadron at MacDill AFB, FL. From December 1966 to December 1967, he was assigned to Headquarters 7th Air Force at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Republic of Vietnam. He flew over 100 combat missions while assigned in the Republic of Vietnam.

In 1968, Hartinger was the F-111 Test Director at Nellis AFB, NV, and then took Command of the famed "Flying Tigers," the 23rd Tactical Fighter Wing, flying F-105 Thunderchiefs at McConnell AFB, KS. He became Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans at North American Air Defense Command Headquarters, Ent Air Force Base, CO, in June 1970. He moved to Maxwell AFB in May 1973 as Commandant of the Air War College.

From July 1975 until June 1978, Hartinger was Commander of the Tactical Air Command's 9th Air Force with Headquarters at Shaw AFB, SC. He then was Commander of Tactical Air Command's 12th Air Force with Headquarters at Bergstrom AFB, TX. He became Commander-in- Chief of North American Aerospace Defense Command in January 1980. Barry Corbin's character in the movie War Games is based on Hartinger in this role. Hartinger was promoted to the rank of four-star General on 1 October 1981.

From 1982-84, Hartinger served as Commander-in- Chief of North American Aerospace Defense Command and Commander, Air Force Space Command (CINCNORAD/COMAFSPC).

While in the Air Force, Hartinger received a Master's Degree in Business Administration from the George Washington University, Washington, DC, in 1963. He is also a graduate of Squadron Officer School at Maxwell Air Force Base, AL, in 1955; and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, DC, in 1966.

General Hartinger retired from the Air Force in 1984. During his service he was became a Command Pilot with over 5,000 flying hours and was the first recipient of the Master Space Badge.

Medals and Awards

Defense Distinguished Service Medal

Air Force Distinguished Service Medal (2 Awards)

Legion of Merit (2 Awards)

Distinguished Flying Cross

Air Medal (9 Awards)

Air Force Commendation Medal

Combat Readiness Medal

Republic of Korea Order of National Security Merit Tung II


Command Pilot Badge

Master Space Badge


Hartinger received an Honorary Doctor of Military Science from Norwich University in Vermont in 1982.

He received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Akron in 1983.

In 1975, he was inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

The National Defense Industrial Association named the Hartinger Medal after him, which is presented annually to an individual who made a significant contribution to the military space mission of the U.S.


During World War II, he became friends with the musician, Hardrock Gunter, who was in his unit, and they remained close until Hartinger's death.

Death and Burial

General James Vincent Hartinger died on 9 October 2000. He is buried at Riverview Cemetery in Middleport, OH.

Honoree ID: 732   Created by: MHOH




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