JAMES B. CANNON, CDR, USN
James Cannon '40
Date of birth: December 19, 1916
Date of death: October 28, 1955
From the 1940 Lucky Bag:
Jim was lost on October 29, 1955 when his plane crashed in Montgomery, Alabama. He was survived by his wife, Betty, a daughter, Christy, and two sons, James Jr. and Michael. (Information from December 1955 and January 1956 issues of SHIPMATE.)
He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
When the war started December 7, 1941, Jim was in the battleship USS TENNESSEE in the gunnery department. A large bomb hit Turret Three to which he was assigned. Many men in his division were killed. The ship subsequently returned to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for repair, after which it joined Task Force One. When TENNESSEE returned to Puget Sound for modernization, Jim was ordered to the shipyard, Orange, Texas, to the destroyer USS AULICK as gunnery officer. After it was commissioned, and following shakedown, the ship deployed to the South Pacific.
In May of 1943, Jim left the Pacific for flight training, receiving his wings in December of 1943. From 1944 to 1945, he served as flight instructor at NAS Lake City. With the end of the war, he was ordered to flight training for carrier qualification.
Returning to the Pacific in 1946, Jim joined COMNATSPAC, in Honolulu as Air Traffic Control Officer. From there, he went to VR-6 as Operations Officer, to fly the Berlin Airlift until it was terminated in August of 1949.
A nice sojourn in the United States as NAS Monterey, California, as Operations Officer, preceded his orders to Saigon, Vietnam, as Commanding Officer of the Navy Section of MAAG, Indochina. He spent two and one-half years there as advisor to the French Navy. He became fluent in French and conversational in Vietnamese. He returned to the United States in February, 1954, just before the fall of Dien Bien Phu.
Jim's last assignment was at Headquarters, Air Intelligence, Op- 552, Washington, D.C. He was killed when the plane he was piloting crashed en route from Anacostia to Pensacola, October 29, 1955.
Jim is survived by his wife, Betty; daughter, Christy; son, Michael; grandson, Obie Porteous and granddaughter, Elinor Cannon. His son, Jim Jr., then a LT in the Navy, was killed in the crash of an F-8 Crusader (in 1970) while attached to NAS Miramar as a combat flight instructor, Fighter Squadron 124.
As mentioned in his obituary, his son was also lost in a Navy aircraft accident.