Retired Air Force Brig. Gen John Carroll Kennedy, 80, who had served as a combat pilot in both world wars, died Tuesday at Stonewall Jackson Hospital in Lexington, Va.

He had lived in a nursing home there since suffering a stroke five years ago. Before that he had lived for 22 years in Silver Spring and Chevy Chase, where he was associated with investment and real estate firms.

Born in New York City, Gen. Kennedy attended Columbia University for three years before joining the aviation section of the Army Signal Corps in 1917. He was sent to France where he commanded several air squadrons during World War I.

After the war, he remained in the Army Air Corps, continued college studies at night, and graduated from Georgetown University. He later received a master of laws degree from New York University.

He had assignments at Air Corps installations near Washington. New York City, San Antonio, the Philippines, San Francisco and Ft. Knox, where he helped establish a flying field.

In 1943, he accepted command of the 69th Wing of the 14th Air Force - the Flying Tigers - in China under Lt. Gen. Claire Chennault.

Gen. Kennedy's last command was that of inspector general of the Air Defense Command, based at Mitchell Air Force Base in New York. He retired in 1950.

He is survived by his wife, Natalie Camp Kennedy, and a son, C. Towbridge, both of Waynesboro, Va.: two daughters, Mrs. Charles H. Matteson, of Weyers Cave, Va., and Mrs. Frank L. Everson, of Brandywine, Mf.; a brother, Andrew of Sebring, Fla., and two grandchildren.