DENVER - Friday, Oct. 23, 2015 - Gov. John Hickenlooper today ordered flags be lowered to half-staff on Monday, Oct. 26, on all public buildings statewide in memory of Maj. Gen. John L. France. Flags should be lowered from sunrise to sunset.
France, who passed away on Oct. 15, was the longest serving Adjutant General of Colorado from 1979-1995 and was one of the last surviving of the famed Minute Men pilots.
France enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in November 1952 during the Korean War. He attended aviation cadet training, and received his pilot wings and commission as a second lieutenant upon graduation in March 1955 at Webb Air Force Base, Texas. Later he was based at Misawa Air Base, Japan, and flew F-86F Sabre jets.
After separating from the Air Force in March 1958, he joined the Colorado Air National Guard.
As a member of the famed Air National Guard official precision demonstration team, the Minute Men, he flew the F-86 during the late 1950s at air shows in the U.S. and five foreign countries.
The Minute Men were the first and only federally recognized aerial demonstration team in the history of the Air National Guard.
France was mobilized for the Berlin Crisis in October 1961.
France mobilized again in April 1968 and flew his F-100C fighter jet for 239 combat missions while deployed with the 120th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Phan Rang Air Base, Vietnam.
After his return from Vietnam, he was assigned as commander of the 120th Tactical Fighter Squadron, then commander of the 140th Tactical Fighter Group. In 1974, he was appointed commander of the 140th Tactical Fighter Wing, located at Buckley Air National Guard Base, the first Air National Guard base in the nation. He was also selected as commander of the Colorado Air National Guard in 1974.
He was promoted to major general June 18, 1982.
In 1993 he was inducted into the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame.
After retiring in 1995, France served as president and vice president of both the National Guard Association of the United States and the Adjutants General Association of the United States. He was also a former board member of the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum. His A-7 aircraft is on display there.
France's Minute Men jet is on display at Buckley Air Force Base, Aurora, Colo.
France is survived by his wife, Carole, and his daughters, Allison and Amie.
Military funeral honors and interment will take place Oct. 26 at 11 a.m. at Fort Logan National Cemetery, Shelter A. There will be a walking procession from Staging Area A to Shelter A at Fort Logan beginning at 11:15 a.m. Members of the public who would like to walk in the procession should park on Montana Street or Logan Boulevard and arrive at Staging Area A by 10:45 a.m.
Members of the public who would like to drive in the procession should stage their vehicles on Kansas Street.
Among the military honors that will be rendered include a 13-round cannon salute provided by the Colorado Army National Guard at approximately 11:35 a.m.
Pilots from the Colorado Air National Guard's 140th Wing at Buckley Air Force Base will fly a missing-man formation of F-16 fighter aircraft over the cemetery in memory of France at approximately 12:23 p.m.
A memorial service will follow interment at 3 p.m. at Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum.
The military funeral honors, interment, and memorial service are open to the public.