Jim Morehead was born on August 16, 1916, in Paoli, Oklahoma. He enlisted in the Oklahoma National Guard on June 10, 1934, and served until July 31, 1940, with a break in service from June 9 to August 1, 1937. He then enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Army Air Corps on September 5, 1940, and was commissioned a 2d Lt and awarded his pilot wings at Stockton Field, California, on April 25, 1941. His first assignment was as a P-40 Warhawk pilot with the 70th Pursuit Squadron of the 35th Pursuit Group at Hamilton Field, California, and then deployed to Java temporarily with the 17th Pursuit Squadron, from April 1941 to March 1942, followed by service as a P-40 pilot with the 8th Pursuit Squadron of the 49th Pursuit Group in Australia from March to October 1942. During this time he was credited with the destruction of 7 enemy aircraft in aerial combat. After returning to the United States in October 1942, Capt Morehead served as a P-38 Lightning pilot, Operations Officer, and then Commanding Officer of the 331st Fighter Squadron of the 329th Fighter Group at Van Nuys, California, from October 1942 to February 1944. Maj Morehead next served as a P-38 pilot and Operations Officer for the 1st Fighter Group in Italy from April to October 1944, and during this time he was credited with the destruction of 1 enemy aircraft in aerial combat, plus 1 damaged, for a total of 8 destroyed in the air and 1 damaged during World War II. Lt Col Morehead served as Air Inspector with the 432nd Army Air Force Base Unit at Portland, Oregon, from December 1944 to April 1945, with the 434th Army Air Force Base Unit at Santa Rosa, California, from April to July 1945, and with the 433rd and then 488th Army Air Force Base Units at Chico, California, from July 1945 to January 1946. His next assignment was as Commanding Officer of the 488th Army Air Force Base Unit at Chico from January to May 1946, followed by service as Assistant Coordination and Compliance Officer and Assistant Executive Officer with the 482nd Army Air Force Base Unit at Merced, California, from May to November 1946. He then served with the 200th Army Air Force Base Unit at Colorado Springs, Colorado, from November 1946 until he left active duty and entered the Air Force Reserve on January 2, 1947. Lt Col Morehead was recalled to active duty on July 2, 1947, and then served as Assistant Operations and Training Officer for the 309th Army Air Force Base Unit at Greenville, South Carolina, from July 1947 to July 1948. His next assignment was as the Senior Air Force Instructor and Liaison Officer with the Minnesota Air National Guard, where he served with the 133rd Fighter Group from July 1948 to March 1951, and then as the Executive Officer for the 133rd Fighter Interceptor Wing at Holman Field, Minnesota, from March to May 1951. Col Morehead next served as Executive Officer of the 128th Fighter Interceptor Wing at Truax Field, Wisconsin, from May to December 1951, followed by attending Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, from December 1951 to July 1952. After serving at Camp Stoneman, California, and completing F-84 Thunderjet Combat Crew Training, Col Morehead served as Inspector of the 474th Fighter-Bomber Wing in Korea from February to April 1953, and then as Operations Officer of the 49th Fighter-Bomber Wing in Korea from April to September 1953. He then served as Team Commander and Operations Advisor for Flight C with the Air Force Section of the Military Assistance and Advisory Group in Taiwan from September 1953 to December 1954. He served with Headquarters U.S. Air Force in the Pentagon from January 1955 until he left active duty and joined the Air Force Reserve on June 21, 1955, and then remained in the Air Force Reserve until his retirement on June 23, 1968. Jim Morehead died on March 11, 2012.
His 1st (of 2) Distinguished Service Cross Citation reads:
For extraordinary heroism in action near Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, on 25 April 1942. When commanding a flight of four fighter planes, Lieutenant Morehead sighted twenty-eight enemy bombers protected by enemy fighters. Disregarding the accompanying enemy fighters, he immediately led his flight in an attack against the bombers, and succeeded in shooting down two of them. He then engaged an enemy fighter and shot it down also. In spite of the great hostile superiority in numbers, Lieutenant Morehead succeeded in returning to his airdrome with all planes of his flight, although his own plane was heavily damaged by enemy fire.