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Item Number
Record Number
Interview with James Overman
Laura M. Calkins, PhD
Interview Date
04 June 2004
James Overman Collection
Media Type
Oral History
3:23:50 hr/min/sec
(USAF, CIA) James King Overman was born in 1933 in Wisconsin, where he attended St. John's Military Academy. He enlisted in the US Air Force at age 18, and after training as a mechanic he qualified for pilot training. Jim was commissioned in April 1954 at Goodfellow AFB, and he flew B-26 aircraft on patrols of the 38th Parallel in Korea 1954-55. He was based in Japan at Itami AFB 1955-56 and at Reese AFB 1956-69 before spending six years as an instructor in the Training Command at Randolph AFB. During 1965-67 he was assigned to the 817 Troop Carrier Squadron, Naha AB, Okinawa, with TDY postings to Danang and Ubon, Thailand. He flew 'Blind Bat' missions as a night forward air controller over the DMZ and North Vietnam. During 1970-71, as part of the 16th SOS, he flew nighttime interdiction missions over Laos and South Vietnam in AC-130 gunships, as well as High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) flights and a bombing mission over Cambodia. At his retirement from active duty in 1972 Jim was one of the most highly decorated Native American pilots in US Air Force history. During the 1970s and 1980s Jim flew on a contract basis for the Central Intelligence Agency, including evacuation flights from Phnom Penh, Danang, and Saigon in 1975, cargo flights in Angola in the mid-1980s, and training flights for Saudi pilots in Saudi Arabia in 1988.
Interview with James Overman,  04 June 2004, James Overman Collection, The Vietnam Center and Archive, Texas Tech University. Accessed 1 Dec. 2015. <>.
Pub. Credit Line
OH0364, James Overman Collection, The Vietnam Center and Archive, Texas Tech University
Added: 21 Jun 2004[Updated: 1 Feb 2008]

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