Col. James H. Macia Jr.

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  • "Thank you, and your fellows, for making a difference"
    - L Merryman
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    - Carlos Leal
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    - R Lindner
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Obituary

MACIA, Col. James H. Jr., Doolittle Raider, 93, one of nine men remaining from Jimmy Doolittle's 1942 raid on Tokyo, passed away at Jefferson Medical Center in Philadelphia on December 20, 2009. He was born on April 10, 1916 in Tombstone, Arizona. After graduating from Tombstone High School, he attended the University of Arizona studying mining engineering. He was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. Herb entered the Army Air Corps in June 1940, completed navigator training and was commissioned in June 1941. His first assignment was the 89th Reconnaissance Squadron at Pendleton, Oregon. While there, he married his college sweetheart, Mary Alice Murrell. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Group was reassigned to Columbia, South Carolina and became the nucleus for the first raid on Japan led by Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle. Lieutenant Macia was the navigator/ bombardier on the 14th aircraft with the target of Nagoya. The crew successfully hit their assigned targets and all members escaped to friendly hands after bailing out over China. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross for the mission. Subsequent to the Doolittle Raid, he was assigned to the 320th Bomb Group. They flew B-26 Marauders and deployed to North Africa in December 1942. The group participated in combat operations in the Mediterranean, Sicily, Italy, Corsica, Sardinia, France and Germany. Herb was with the Group until April 1945, flying two combat tours (80 Missions) and serving in various positions including Group Executive Officer. During those tours, he rose from captain to lieutenant colonel and was awarded the Silver Star, two more Distinguished Flying Crosses, and nine Air Medals. At the end of World War II, he was released from the service and returned to Tucson, Arizona. He remained active in the Air Force Reserve. During this time he pursued mining opportunities with his father in southern Arizona, and later worked in the banking and automobile industries in Tucson. With the outbreak of the Korean War, he was recalled to active duty and assigned to Headquarters USAF, Europe, Wiesbaden, Germany where he served in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence. His next assignment was with the Director of Intelligence, HQ US Air Force in the Pentagon. During this period, he worked on the exploitation of intelligence from U-2 flights over the Soviet Union. From 1959 until 1961, he was the Director of Intelligence for the 2nd Air Force (SAC) at Barksdale AFB, LA. Following that assignment, he was the Director of Operations for the Air Force Security Service, Kelly AFB, TX. In 1964, he was assigned to the European Region of the AF Security Service in Frankfurt, Germany, where he was later the commander. He returned to Kelly AFB in 1968 and served as the Chief of Staff of the Air Force Security Service until his retirement as a colonel in 1973. Herb was the last Doolittle Raider to retire from active duty. Herb's military decorations include the Legion of Merit, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, French Croix de Guerre avec Palme, and Chinese Army, Navy and Air Corps Medal, Class A, 1st Grade. In 1942 the Kappa Sigma Fraternity selected him as Co-Man-of-the-Year with another Doolittle Raider. After retirement from the Air Force, he was the business manager for the Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio, Texas until 1990. In 1987, he helped plan and manage Pope John Paul II's visit to San Antonio. He and his wife, Mary Alice, continued to live in San Antonio until her death in 1999. In 2001 he moved to Arlington, VA near his son, Tom and subsequently moved to Rehoboth Beach, DE in 2002 near his other son, Herb III. He is survived by a son, Col. James H. Macia, III (US Army retired) and his wife Madeleine of Lewes, DE, and another son, LTC Thomas E. Macia (US Army Retired) and his wife Mary Michael of Arlington, VA and San Antonio, TX. He is also survived by four grandchildren, Susan Dunlap and her husband Dwayne of Milford, DE, Michael Macia and his wife Melissa of Easton, PA, Robert Macia and his wife Sarah of Raleigh, NC, and Peter Macia of New York City.There are also six great-grandchildren. Burial will be in the Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery, San Antonio, TX.

Published in the Arizona Daily Star on Jan. 3, 2010
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