Lieutenant Colonel James E. Twombly graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1963. During his first two years at UNH, he participated in the Army ROTC program. He also played varsity baseball and football at UNH and was a member of the Yankee Conference Championship Football team.
Earning his commission through the Air Force Officer Training School, he was selected for Undergraduate Navigator Training and earned his navigator wings in 1964. Subsequently, he was assigned to the C-130A “Hercules” at Lockbourne AFB, OH, as part of the 40th Troop Carrier Squadron. He gained additional qualifications in airdrop and accolades in airdrop competitions. His next assignment was overseas flying C-130E aircraft with the 345th Troop Carrier Squadron out of Taiwan. Lt Col Twombly’s primary mission was support of Southeast Asia operations from Japan to Vietnam. Within Vietnam, most flying missions were resupply of Army and Marine forces plus movement of troops and material. Returning stateside, Lt Col Twombly was assigned to Dover AFB, DE, flying the C-133A “Cargomaster” with the 39th Military Airlift Squadron. His mission for this four year tour was the long range heavy airlift in support of American Forces throughout the world. Subsequently, he was selected to be an instructor navigator and assigned to Mather AFB, CA. As a member of the 451st Flying Training Squadron, he served as a platform instructor and airborne instructor, first in the T-29 Convair “Flying Classroom” and later in the T-43A. Lt Col Twombly then shifted his focus to Aerospace Physiology, teaching effects of flight on the human body to include altitude chamber training and life support equipment. He became commander of the Mather AFB Aerospace Physiology Unit and was later assigned to Little Rock AFB, Arkansas. There, he performed as Commander of the Aerospace Unit and also instructed new navigator students in the C-130H. In addition, he completed his master’s degree from Webster. He was next assigned to Wiesbaden AB, Germany, as Chief of Aerospace Physiology for United States Forces in Europe. His last assignment was at Pease AFB, where he served in the same capacity until his retirement in 1985. His awards include the Meritorious Service Medal (2OLC), Air Medal (3OLC), Combat Readiness Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with seven Bronze Service Stars, and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross. He accumulated over 6400 hours of flying time.
After 26 years of military service, Lt Col Twombly reconnected with UNH in 1987 and served as the Secretary/Treasurer of the UNH 100 Club for nine years. In this role, he helped raise scholarship money for the Men’s Athletic Scholarship Program. Lt Col Twombly was elected to the Rochester City Council and represented Ward 2 for eight years. From 1991-1999, he served as chairman of the Space Utilization Committee and the Public Safety Committee resulting in expansions of the police station facility and city library as well as the creation of a new Gonic fire station. In 2000 he was elected to the NH General Court and served Rochester in the NH Legislature for six years. As Vice-Chairman of the State and Federal Relations Committee, he dealt heavily with many Veterans issues.
For meritorious service to the United States Air Force, the State of New Hampshire, and UNH, Lieutenant Colonel James E. Twombly is inducted into the ROTC Hall of Fame.