BY CHRIS GRAHAM
Life for Charles James began in 1923 in Live Oak. He was the eighth of nine children, with an older brother and seven sisters. Life required a lot of hard work, but was full of love, fun and always opportunities for adventures and misadventures.
James’ brother enlisted in 1939, and in 1942 James and a classmate traveled to Valdosta, Georgia, to Moody Field and signed up. As newly recruited Army Air Corps members, they were excited to serve our country and thought they looked handsome in their uniforms, and enjoyed the camaraderie, but of course much of that covered their unease with the uncertainty of their futures.
There James was trained to inspect planes and their parts after repairs had been made. Next, he was transferred to Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, as support for officer training. Later, James was transferred on Clark Field in the Azores, which was serving as a staging area for troop and airplane movement. From there, he was transferred to Fort Benning, Georgia.
There he received training as a paratrooper. However, instead of being sent overseas, he was sent to Camp Blanding in Jacksonville for discharge on points, as by then, he had a wife and two babies.
James and his wife, Kyoko, have been married for 30 years and have four daughters, Barbara, Laura, Jennifer and Celia, all of whom live in DeLand. James and his wife moved back to DeLand to spend time with daughters and their families and to enjoy wonderful DeLand.
At ages 88, 90 and 91, James even revisited his parachuting days with tandem jumps at the DeLand Municipal Airport.