CMSgt. James Franklin Stone, United States Air Force (Ret.), 91

CMSgt. James Franklin Stone, United States Air Force (Ret.), 91, of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, passed away peacefully at his home on December 11, 2022.

James was born July 10, 1931, in Freeport, Illinois, and his family later moved to Reinbeck, Iowa, which he considered his hometown. James was proceeded in death by his father Leron Jay Stone (WWII Veteran), his mother Frances Marietta White-Stone, his beautiful wife of 62 years Janet Edith Reynolds-Wallder-Stone, and his brother Eugene and sister-in-law Carol Stone.

James is survived by his five children and their families: Debra Stone-Potter, of Wilmington, North Carolina – her husband Rob and children Matthew Potter {wife Casey, son Lochlainn and daughter Matilda}, Timothy Potter {wife Ashley, daughter McKenzie and son Nicholas}, Stephen Potter {fiancee Jessica} and Joel Potter {wife Natalie}. Eugene Stone, of Pensacola, Florida, – his wife Jennifer and children Patrick Stone (US Navy) and Allison Stone. Steven Stone, of Wilmington, NC, – his wife Kathy and children Zachary Stone, Joshua Stone and Christopher Stone {wife Sevin and daughter River}. Sharon Stone-Allan, of Raleigh, North Carolina, – her husband Rob and sons Michael Allan and Ryan Allan. And John Stone, of Fort Walton Beach.

Jim graduated from Reinbeck High School in 1949 and attended Iowa State University. He entered the Air Force in 1952 and during his Air Force career he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in General Studies (1966) and Master of Science in Social Science and Education (1968) from Southern Oregon College. He received his second Master of Science in Executive Development in Public Services from Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, in 1974.

Following completion of basic training in 1952 and technical school at Scott AFB where he earned is certification in Aircraft Communications, Jim’s first assignment in the Air Force was in the 321st Bomber Wing at McCoy AFB, Florida, from 1953 to 1955 as a B-47 Stratojet airborne radio technician. During that time he studied Navigational Control manuals and took tests to receive his second certification in Navigational Systems.

He was then stationed to the 13th Fighter Interceptor Squadron from 1956 to 1958 in Sioux City, Iowa’s Municipal Airport in support of the F-86D Sabre. During this time he again did self-study with manuals and the aid of several Hughes Aircraft Engineers tutoring to earn his third certification in Fire Systems Control This is significant in that it was highly unusual for an airman to attain certifications without attending technical school. Jim attained the highest level in these Air Force Specialty Codes.

From 1959 to 1960 James served with the 440th Fighter Interceptor Squadron supporting the F-86D Sabre at Erding AFB, Munich, West Germany. His next assignment was with the 7272nd USAFE Weapons Training Center at Wheelus AFB, Tripoli, Libya from 1960 to 1962 supporting the F-102A Delta Dagger Avionics Maintenance support unit. In this role, Jim was primarily responsible for setting up the new Weapons Center for F102 aircraft and pilots to qualify on the bombing range.

In 1962, Sergeant Stone completed instructor training at Amarillo AFB and was assigned to the 519th Field Training Detachment at Kingsley Field AFB, Oregon as an instructor and later NCOIC of the Field Training Detachment (FTD) supporting the F101-B Voodoo. It was during this time that Jim achieved the rank of Chief Master Sergeant (E9).

From 1968 to 1969 James served at Takhli Royal Thai AFB, Thailand as Avionics Superintendent of the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing equipped with F-105 Thunderchief and EB-66 Destroyer aircraft. During this tour, Sgt. Stone was medevacked to Clark AFB in the Philippines and later to Australia for surgery. Rather than returning to the USA for recovery as he was supposed to, James checked himself out of the hospital and returned to support his unit in Thailand.

Following his Southeast Asia tour, in 1970 he was assigned to Dover AFB, Delaware as Avionics Superintendent of the 95th Fighter Interceptor Squadron supporting the F106. While at Dover, James also served as the Enlisted Advisor to the 95th Fighter Interceptor Squadron. In 1972, Jim was assigned to the 406th Tactical Fighter Training Wing supporting the F4 at Zaragoza AFB, Zaragoza, Spain serving as the NCOIC of Avionics Maintenance until his appointment as Senior Enlisted Advisor (now referred to Command Chief Master Sergeant) for the base.

In 1975, Chief Stone was assigned to Eglin Air Force Base Auxiliary Field 9 (Hurlburt Field) supporting the 1stSpecial Operations Wing as Command Chief Master Sergeant as well as being the Maintenance Superintendent for the 834thAvionics Maintenance Squadron and the 834thComponent Repair Squadron supporting the C130 Talon Gunship.

Jim retired from the Air Force in December of 1978. After his retirement from the Air Force, Jim worked for a few military contractors including Keltec Inc., Transistor Devices Inc, and Computer Science Corporation.

During his 26 years with the United States Air Force, CMSgt. James Franklin Stone, USAF, (Ret.) was awarded the Bronze Star, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with Four Campaign Stars, National Defense Service Medal with One Bronze Star, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Two Oak Leaf Clusters, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Award with One Silver Oak Leaf Cluster and One Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Force Good Conduct Medal with Three Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Good Conduct Medal with Five Silver Knots.

Dad was proud of his military service. His family will miss him but rejoice in knowing he is finally reunited with his London born sweetheart and wife Janet. Until we meet again Dad, we love you!

Services will be held December 16, Friday at the Emerald Coast Funeral Home at 161 Racetrack Rd NW, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547 (850) 864-3361 www.emeraldcoastfuneralhome.com. Internment will take place at the Barrancas National Military Cemetery at 1 Cemetery Rd, Pensacola, FL 32508. Condolences can be sent to the family at The Stone Family 101 Baker Avenue, Fort Walton Beach, Florida 32548.