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James "Jim" Boswell '68 May 2, 2022 4:23 PM updated: May 2, 2022 4:28 PM

James W. Boswell

December 4, 1941 - February 7, 2022

Col. James Wilson Boswell (“Boz”), Ret, United States Air Force, age 80, passed away peacefully on February 7, 2022. He leaves many family members and friends who will sadly miss him. He resided in Niceville, FL.

Jim was preceded in death by his wife, Karen Boswell, whom he was married to for 56 years. They are survived by their five children: Mark, Matthew (Genet), Christopher, Laura (Nick Bucci), Patrick (Melissa), and nine grandchildren.

Jim, the son of Wilson and Elizabeth Boswell, was born in Atascadero, CA, on December 4, 1941. His father was in the United States Army and Jim grew up experiencing different places. After high school, Jim enlisted in the United States Air Force and worked in Aviation Maintenance. While stationed in Zaragoza, Spain, he met his wife, Karen, and they were married on Feb 6, 1965. Jim enrolled at Texas A&M while serving out the remainder of his duty commitment in the Texas Air National Guard as a Staff Sergeant. He graduated from Texas A&M and was commissioned as a 2nd Lt in 1968. His Air Force career took Jim and his family all across the United States, Germany, and England. During his career, he spent time as a navigator, instructor, and electronic warfare officer. His flight assignments include EC-121, B-52, EA-6B, and EF-111. He served two tours in Vietnam and led the planning for Operation El Dorado Canyon in 1986. One of his most unique and beloved experiences was his exchange tour with the United States Navy. He qualified on the EA-6B and deployed on the USS Forrestal where he accumulated 86 carrier landings. Throughout his career, Jim was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross twice, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, and Air Force Commendation medal.

His last military move was to Eglin AFB as Commander of Air Force Operational Test & Evaluation Center, Detachment 2, where he was promoted to Colonel. He retired in 1994, after serving 32 years including 4 of these years as an enlisted member. Jim and Karen retired and stayed in Niceville.

Jim was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and son. His passion was military aviation, amateur radio (NJ8E, Amateur Extra), volunteer firefighting administration, bible study and instilling volunteer civic duty throughout his local community. He was an elected Fire Commissioner for the North Bay Fire Department, where he served 12 years as chairman of the North Bay Fire Control District. He was an active member of the Playground Amateur Radio Club, a lifetime member of the Air Force Association, and a local representative for admissions for the United States Merchant Marine Academy. He continuously supported the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets throughout his entire life. In his later years, when not actively involved in the previous organizations, he could be found attending bible study at Christ Our Redeemer Catholic Church with Karen. He lived his life with a sense of duty to be a good citizen, contributing member of society, love of country, and military service and worked to give back what had been so graciously given to him by the same.

There will be a funeral on Sunday, February 20, at 1:00 pm at Christ Our Redeemer Catholic Church in Niceville, FL.

In lieu of flowers, Jim has asked for donations to be made to the Mercy Ships organization, which uses the model of Jesus in the use of hospital ships to bring hope and healing to the world’s forgotten poor. They can be found at, and by clicking “Donate”.


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