James Edward Madsen
Jim Madsen died of an E. coli infection on May, 15, 2014 following back surgery in early April. His last days were under excellent Hospice care in Chandler, Ariz. He requested no memorial service after his passing and his remains will be cremated.
Jim had a diverse Air Force career. After pilot training Jim was a Forward Air Controller in Vietnam. That was followed by T-38 Instructor assignment at Laredo AFB, Texas. When Laredo AFB was closed, he went to Randolph AFB as a T-38 instructor teaching new instructor pilots for Air Training Command.
Jim volunteered for the U-2 program in 1974. He was accepted and joined the U-2 program at Davis-Monthan AFB, Tucson, Ariz. He moved with the squadron to Beale AFB, Calif. in 1976. Jim had numerous TDY tours to several worldwide U-2 detachments during his tenure in the program.
Jim separated from the Air Force in 1979 to pursue an airline career. He initially was hired by Texas International which was bought by Continental Air Lines. He had a successful career flying several different aircraft. He also served as an assistant chief pilot at the Denver pilot domicile.
Jim retired as an international Captain on the Boeing 777 in 2005. In retirement, he excelled at tennis and poker. He greatly enjoyed living in Arizona and spent most of his airline career commuting from Tucson. His ready smile and easy friendship will be greatly missed by his family and friends. His passing came as a shock to all who knew him. It was too soon for him to go.
Jim will be greatly missed but remembered for his honesty, integrity, and life-loving attitude. He truly lived this line from High Flight: "Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth, And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of..." Please contact the Association of Graduates for condolence information.
(John Swanson, USAFA '68)
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