James Coleman Pfautz

July 17, 1930April 24, 2021

PFAUTZ Major General James C. Pfautz USAF (Ret.) died at 90 years of age on April 24th, 2021 at his boyhood and later-year “cottage” home overlooking the Severn River in Sherwood Forest, Annapolis, MD. “Jim” graduated high school from Mercersburg Academy, PA receiving an English-Speaking Union Scholarship to Shrewsbury School, England. As a boy, he lifeguarded at the Sherwood Forest Club beaches and swam the Severn. These skills transferred to the US Military Academy, where he captained the West Point Varsity Swimming Team. After graduation (1953), he was selected to the US Olympic Team (Decathlon), but the USAF’s flight school came first for Jim. He received his pilot’s wings at Vance AFB, Oklahoma, and began his long career in the Air Force. Jim’s first flying assignment took him and his young family to Evreux, France, for four years. Returning to the States, he was assigned to the University of Maryland’s Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, Detachment 330, Princess Anne, MD. In 1964, he took command of the Flight Operations Section of the Air Force Advisory Group at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, where he flew 188 combat missions.

Returning to the States, assignments at Patrick AFB, Florida, and then at the Air Force Systems Command at Andrews Air Force Base, MD followed. Graduating from the National War College, he was assigned to the Directorate of Doctrine, Concepts and Objectives at the Pentagon. In September 1974, he was selected by the Council on Foreign Relations for a one-year fellowship at the council’s New York City offices. From June 1977 to December 1978, he served as US Defense Attaché to Egypt. From Egypt, he was selected to be the Director for Intelligence, Pacific Command at Camp Smith, Hawaii. With his selection to Major General, Jim returned to the Pentagon as the USAF Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence.

General Pfautz flew a variety of aircraft throughout his career, becoming a command pilot with 6,000 flying hours. His military decorations and awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, and Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with palm.

General Pfautz is survived by three children, Rick Pfautz, Janie Pfautz Brown, and Jim Scott Pfautz, seven grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Linda. A family service will be held at St. Anne’s cemetery in Annapolis, MD where he had requested that a memorial stone be placed alongside his mother, father, and sister. Memorial gifts will be received by the Alzheimer’s Association.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


James Coleman Pfautz

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