James Patrick Goode, 72, the deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for personnel and Reserve affairs from 1951 until he retired in 1978, died of cancer July 20 at his home in Bethesda.

Mr. Goode was born in New Haven, Conn., and earned bachelor's and law degrees at Yale University. He began his federal career in the 1930s with the Securities and Exchange Commission in Philadelphia and Chicago.

During World War II, he was a personnel officer in the Army Air Forces and attained the rank of colonel. He retired from the Air Force Reserves in 1971. His military decorations included the Legion of Merit and three Army Commendation Medals.

After the war, he returned to the SEC, where he became assistant director of the corporation finance division. He remained there until he went to work for the Air Force.

In his years as the top civilian personnel official in that service, Mr. Goode helped organize the 3320th Correctional and Rehabilitation Center at Lowry Air Force Base in Colorado. The facility was the first in the Air Force designed to try to rehabilitate enlisted and commissioned personnel with alcohol, drug and disciplinary problems rather than merely punish them. It served as a model for similar facilities in other services.

Mr. Goode also helped establish the Senior Non-Commissioned Officers Academy at Gunther Air Force Base in Alabama. The academy is to high noncommissioned officers what the Air War College is to commissioned officers. One of its purposes is to ensure that the service has a sufficient number of qualified senior NCOs in the face of expanding technology and employment in technological fields outside the military.

A responsibility that fell to Mr. Goode throughout his career at the Pentagon was the enforcement of policies against discrimination in the Air Force.

Mr. Goode received the Air Force's Exceptional Civilian Service Award and the L. Mendel Rivers Award for Excellence from the Air Force Sergeants Association. He was a member of the Armed Forces Management Association, the Air Force Association and the Inter-American Bar Association.

He belonged to the Catholic Church of the Little Flower and received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice award from Pope John XXIII. He was a member of the Yale Club of Washington and the American Legion.

Survivors include his wife, Vivian Franklin Goode of Bethesda; a son, Lawrence P., of Chicago, and two sisters, Eleanor E. Sanders of West Hartford, Conn., and Mary T. Rogan of Burbank, Calif.