Jim Clements was born on August 10, 1932, in Queen City, Texas. He was commissioned through the Air Force ROTC program at East Texas State University on May 23, 1954, and went on active duty beginning July 21, 1954. Lt Clements next completed Undergraduate Pilot Training and was awarded his pilot wings at Laredo AFB, Texas, in August 1955. After completing All-Weather Interceptor Training, he flew F-89 Scorpions with the 445th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at Wurtsmith AFB, Michigan, from December 1955 to May 1957, and then with the 59th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at Goose Bay, Labrador, from May 1957 to May 1958. His next assignment was flying F-89's with the 58th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at Otis AFB, Massachusetts, and then at Walker AFB, New Mexico, from May 1958 to October 1960, followed by service flying the F-101B Voodoo with the 15th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, from October 1960 to November 1962. Capt Clements served as an F-101 flight instructor with the 4756th Combat Crew Training Squadron at Tyndall AFB, Florida, from November 1962 to January 1967, and then completed F-105 Thunderchief combat crew training in June 1967. He next deployed to Southeast Asia in July 1967, and flew with the 44th Tactical Fighter Squadron out of Korat Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, until he was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War on October 9, 1967. After spending 1,984 days in captivity, Col Clements was released during Operation Homecoming on March 14, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries and then attended Air War College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, from March 1973 to March 1974. His final assignment was at Sheppard AFB, Texas, where he retired from the Air Force on April 1, 1975. Jim Clements died on March 27, 1997, and was buried at the Queen City Cemetery in Queen City, Texas.
His Silver Star Citation reads:
For the period 11 October 1967 to 13 October 1967. This officer distinguished himself by gallantry and intrepidity in action in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force during the above period while a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam. Ignoring international agreements on treatment of prisoners of war, the enemy resorted to mental and physical cruelties to obtain information, confessions, and propaganda materials. This individual resisted their demands by calling upon his deepest inner strengths in a manner which reflected his devotion to duty and great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.