James M. Priest reminiscences

James M. Priest reminiscences

Dates: 1925-1975

This collection contains a spiral bound copy of James M. Priest's reminiscences of his life, particularly his service in the military from 1945-1974 and an original photograph of him and Harold B. Lee in Japan.

  • Extent: 2 folders (0.2 linear ft.)
  • Creator: Priest, James M., 1927
  • Call Number: MSS 6795
  • Repository: L. Tom Perry Special Collections; 20th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts; 1130 Harold B. Lee Library; Brigham Young University; Provo, Utah 84606; http://sc.lib.byu.edu/
  • Access Restrictions: Open for public research.
Languages and Scripts
Conditions of Use
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from James M. Priest reminiscences must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.
Preferred Citation
Initial citation: MSS 6795; James M. Priest reminiscences; 20th Century Western and Mormon Americana; L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. Following citations: MSS 6795, LTPSC.
Custodial History
This copy of his book was donated in 2005 by the author.
Acquisition Information
Donated; Jamed M. Priest; 2005.
Subject Terms
Lee, Harold B., 1899-1973--Photographs; Home and Family; Material Types; Military; Politics, Government, and Law; Social Life and Customs
Genre / Form
Autobiographies; Photographs
Processing Information
Processed; Whitney Parry; 2009.
Appraisal Information
This belongs in the 20th Century Western and Mormon Americana collection because it is a representation of a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the life of an LDS family in the military during the mid-20th century. It also shows what a career in the military was like during that time period.
Finding Aid ID Number
Finding Aid Title
Priest (James M) reminiscences
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Whitney Parry, student assistant
Finding Aid Creator
This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2010-12-07T12:40-0700
Finding Aid Language
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.
Biographical Info:

Biographical History

James M. Priest (1927-) had a lifelong military career that transported him to various parts of the world and the United States.

James M. Priest was born February 19, 1927 in El Paso, Texas to Gilbert Priest and Anna McMillan Priest. He lived in Clint and Dona Ana, Texas until age 5 when his family moved to Searchlight, Nevada. They lived in Searchlight until 1938 when his parents got divorced. He and his sister then moved with their mother to Las Vegas, Nevada. He lived in Las Vegas until he graduated from high school at age 16 in 1943. Following his graduation he moved to Richmond, CA where he worked in the shipyards as a drafter and then on the assembly line at the Ford Motor Company plant. He was inducted into the active Army Air Corps on June 12, 1945 which started his career in the military. In early 1946, while stationed at Camp Kearns near Salt Lake City, Jim met his wife Pauline while on a pass into town. They dated and kept in touch for a year while Jim was stationed in Alaska. Following his assignment in Alaska, he was moved to Eglin, Florida. In late April 1947, Jim was able to fly to Hill Air Force Base in Utah. While he was visiting he asked Pauline if they could get married the next day. Arrangements were made and they were married on May 3, 1947. Pauline joined Jim in Florida soon after. In May of 1948 he was transfered again, this time to Japan. Before heading overseas they visited relatives in Idaho where Jim was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While Jim was in Japan Pauline stayed with her sister in Aberdeen, Idaho. By October of 1948, he received orders to be transfered again, this time to Celle, Germany. Pauline was able to join him on April 7, 1949. In 1951 they were transferred back to the States to March Air Base near Riverside, California. On June 11, 1952 on their way to Houston for Navigator Training School, they stopped in Salt Lake City and were sealed for time and eternity in the Salt Lake LDS Temple. After he graduated from navigation school he was reassigned to Toyko, Japan, so he and Pauline moved to Japan. While they were stationed in Japan, Jim had the opportunity to meet Elder Harold B. Lee, an Apostle at the time for the LDS church, who was on his way to dedicate Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the Philippines for missionary work. During this time in Japan, Jim flew all over the Pacific and around Asia. In 1955 they were transfered to McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey. In 1956 Jim decided he wanted to get a college education so that he could continue to serve in the Air Force and so he could receive promotions. They decided to attend the University of Utah. While living in Utah they had their first son, James Martin Priest Jr.. He was born on August 3, 1957. He finished school in December of 1958 with a degree in meteorology, after which they moved to Castle Air Force Base in California. On May 4, 1959 their second son, Jeffrey was born. In June 1961 they were transferred to England. While on a trip to Tucson he got sick and found out upon his return that he was suffering from congestive heart failure, as a result he was removed from flying status. On the 3rd of April, 1964 their third son, Andrew was born. Shortly after his birth they were called to return to the States, to Omaha, Nebraska. In 1966, they were transfered back to Castle Air Force Base. In 1968 they were reassigned to Germany once again. In 1970, after two years of night school, he received his Master of Science degree in Business Administration from Boston University. In December of 1970 he was promoted to the rank of colonel. In 1972 the were moved back to the States, this time to Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota. In 1974 he became quite ill and decided to retire. He was given retirement with 60% disablility after serving for almost thirty years in the military.

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John Murphy
Curator - 20th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts