Lt. Col. James Iredell Hopkins, Jr. served in the 509th Headquarters and Base Services Squadron. He was the Group Operations Manager for the 509th. He participated in the mission to Nagasaki as the aircraft commander of the Big Stink, though he was regularly assigned to the Necessary Evil. Hopkins died in a mysterious crash in the North Atlantic in 1951, with his 52 colleagues.
Hopkins attended Texas A&M University for three years, before enlisting in the Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet Program. In 1944, Hopkins served as the Operations Officer for the 509th, stationed at Wendover Field, Utah.
After the war ended, Hopkins continued to serve as the 509th Operations Officer. In February 1946 he was deployed to Kwajalein Atoll, and by the end of the year he returned to the Roswell Army Air Field.
James’ son, Jim Hopkins, has reflected on his father’s work.