Jim Shelton entered the Air Force's Aviation Cadet Program in 1955, receiving his wings in December 1956. His first assignment was flying the F-86-F in Korea. In 1958 he was assigned to the B-47 program. He spent 5 ½ years flying the B-47 from Orlando FL and Lincoln NE, with many deployments to Europe.
In October 1964 he flew the F-102 in preparation for flying the B-58 Mach 2 SAC bomber. He flew the B-58 for 2 ½ years before being selected for the SR-71 Program.
In November 1967 he arrived at Beale and started flying the SR-71 in July 1968. He flew the aircraft for six years accruing 911 hours.
He flew operational missions over North Viet Nam, North Korea, the periphery of China, the DMZ area of Korea and the first Middle East mission in September 1973.
He received 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses and 7 Air Medals for the operational missions flown.
He had several staff positions at Beale AFB and retired as the Director of Reconnaissance for 15th Air Force at March AFB in 1980.
After retiring, he worked for the Lockheed Company's Skunk Works in the Logistic Support Division for the F-117 Stealth Fighter and retired from there in 1991.
Podcast on location from March Field Air Museum, Riverside, CA
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