James Cervantes, 89, who was a retired lieutenant colonel with the US Air Force, died in his home in Sandwich on January 23 after a battle with a long-term illness.
The son of Mexican immigrants, Mr. Cervantes enlisted in the Army Air Corps during World War II, earning his pilot wings in the final months of the war. He subsequently served in the Allied occupation of Japan, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
During the Korean War he was a transportation support pilot. Later he flew critical electronic reconnaissance missions in Vietnam. He also served tours in Spain, the Philippines, Japan, Georgia, and California.
Mr. Cervantes retired after a 27-year career as a lieutenant colonel with command pilot wings. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal.
After his retirement he served as chief of security for Heritage Plantation for 30 years.
He was married to his second wife, Carolyn Cervantes, for 42 years. Mr. Cervantes also leaves four children and four grandchildren.
He was the husband of the late Elizabeth McNally, father of the late Jose Cervantes and son of the late Jose and Luz Cervantes. He also was predeceased by three sisters.
Visiting hours will be held Wednesday, January 28, from 10:30 to 11:30 AM at Nickerson-Bourne Funeral Home, 154 Route 6A, Sandwich. A service will follow at 11:30 AM.
A military burial will take place at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project; Salvation Army; or a charity of one’s choice.