James J. Lindsay

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James J. Lindsay
GEN James Lindsay 1986.jpg
General James J. Lindsay
Born (1932-10-10) October 10, 1932 (age 84)
Portage, Wisconsin
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1952—1990
Rank General
Commands held U.S. Special Operations Command
XVIII Airborne Corps
82nd Airborne Division
Battles/wars Vietnam War
Awards Distinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star (4)
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star with "V" (4)
Air Medal (9)
Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm and Gold Star
Combat Infantryman Badge

General James Joseph Lindsay (born October 10, 1932 in Portage, Wisconsin) is a retired United States Army four-star general,[1] and served as the first commander of the United States Special Operations Command.

Military career[edit]

Lindsay's military career began when he enlisted in the Army in 1952. He graduated from the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School in May 1953 as a Second Lieutenant in the Infantry. His military education includes the Infantry Officer Advanced Course, Army Language School (German and Russian) the US Marine Corps Command and Staff College and the National War College. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a Master of Science degree in Foreign Affairs from George Washington University.

Lindsay commanded units at all levels, from platoon through MACOM, in both peacetime and war. His first assignments were with the 82nd Airborne Division, 7th Special Forces Group and Military Intelligence. Within the 82nd Airborne Division he held eight assignments, from platoon to division level. During the Vietnam War, he was an advisor to the Vietnamese Airborne Brigade, commanded the 2nd Battalion 60th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division and was the G3 (Assistant Chief-of-Staff, Operations and Plans) for the 9th Infantry Division.

As a general, Lindsay commanded the 82nd Airborne Division, the United States Army Infantry School, the XVIII Airborne Corps,[2] the United States Readiness Command,[3] and was the first Commander in Chief, United States Special Operations Command.[4] General Lindsay retired July 1, 1990.

Awards and decorations[edit]

General Lindsay’s awards and decorations include:

  • Combat Infantry Badge.svg
  • CMP 2.jpg
  • Ranger Tab.svg
  • AirAssault.svg
  • Wings badge.JPG
  • Joint Chiefs of Staff seal.svg
  • 505 Inf Rgt DUI.png
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Award numeral 9.png
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze star
Silver star
Bronze star
Gold star

Post military[edit]

In retirement, Lindsay serves as president of the Airborne and Special Operations Museum Foundation, and is a Senior Observer with the Army’s Battle Command Training Program. He sits on the Board of Advisors of the National Infantry Foundation. He was inducted into both the United States Army Ranger Hall of Fame and Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame. He was the 1996 recipient of the National Infantry Association’s Doughboy Award, and the 1998 recipient of the United States Special Operations Command Bull Simon Award.

General Lindsay and his wife Gerry live in Vass, North Carolina. Their children include: Steven Lindsay, Michael Lindsay, Kevin Lindsay, and Barbara Jacon; their grandchildren: Erin Lindsay-Calkins (deceased), Brittany Lindsay, Wayne Lindsay, Lindsay Patton, Tyler Jacon, Evan Lindsay, Michael Lindsay; and their great-grandchildren: Aven Calkins and Nicholas Lindsay (deceased).


  1. ^ Wilmington Morning Star. "Fort Bragg commander tapped for higher post". September 26, 1986, p. 6C. Retrieved on June 25, 2013.
  2. ^ Times-News (Hendersonville, N.C.). "Medal Awarded". October 12, 1986, p. 1B. Retrieved on June 25, 2013.
  3. ^ Sarasota Herald-Tribune. "MacDill May Get Special Command, Lawmaker Says". January 28, 1987, p. YBTC. Retrieved on June 25, 2013.
  4. ^ Sarasota Herald-Tribune. "5 Killed as U.S. Cargo Plane Crashes in Public Exercise". July 2, 1987, p. 8A. Retrieved on June 25, 2013.