|John L. France
CAHS Honored in 1991
Click to view the FRANCE_JOHN_L album
John France was born in Forest City, Missouri, on September 11, 1933. He earned BFA and a law degree from Denver University, and he attended a number of military schools.
He entered the USAF as an airman, in November of 1952, was selected as an air cadet, soloed in a PA-18 at Marana Air Base in Arizona, in April 1954. He received his wings and commission in March 1955. He served in Japan, Taiwan and he flew an F-86 during the Korean war.
He joined the 120th Fighter Squadron of the Colorado Air National Guard in October 1958, and flew as solo pilot for the jet precision demonstration team, called the "Minutemen". This team flew in many states, Alaska and Latin America, as ambassadors of good will. He became the Flight Commander of the unit during the Berlin crisis, flying F-100s at Buckley Field, Colorado, and George AFB, in California.
In May of 1968, during the Pueblo crisis, he led the flight of Colorado Air National Guard F-100s on deployment to Phan Rang Air Base in South Viet Nam. They compiled a record of 5934 combat sorties (8904 combat hours), with the lowest abort rate and highest munitions reliability rate in the theater. During this one-year tour, he flew 239 missions and 337 combat hours. After his return from Viet Nam and he was assigned as Commander of the 120th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Commander of the 140th Tactical Fighter Group, then Commander of the 140th Tactical Fighter Wing. In 1977, he led the Colorado Air National Guard, flying A-7s, on deployment to Holland, where the unit received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. He led the 140th Tactical Fighter Wing to the "Gunsmoke '81" gunnery competition, to be named "World Champions".
In August 1979, John France was named Adjutant General for the state of Colorado. In this position he implemented a program to provide T-43 navigator training for US Air Force Academy cadets. As Adjutant General, he was responsible for more than 5400 Air and Army National Guard, and Civil Air Patrol (CAP) personnel. He brought the High Altitude Training Site to the Eagle County airport, and has assisted in planning the TCA for Denver International Airport. He was promoted to Major General in June 1982
During his long military career, John France received many awards and decorations. General France is a Command Pilot, having flown many different military propeller and jet aircraft. He also is a rated helicopter pilot. He has amassed more than 6600 flying hours.