James received a BS in Marine Engineering and a License from the Coast Guard as an Engineering Officer from California Maritime Academy in 1958. He sailed for the Merchant Marine on the SS Matsonia then entered the Navy in 1958.
After attending Submarine School, he served on seven submarines with tours as Officer-in Charge of USS Roncador, Commanding Officer, USS Chivo and USS Grayback, the first and only unconventional warfare submarine. He also served as Staff Operations Officer, N3, in the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets and completed his 27 years of Naval Service as Project Director of Special Submarine Operations in the Office of Naval intelligence. Personal decorations include the Navy Achievement Medal, Naval Commendation Medal with two gold stars, and the Legion of Merit with a gold star. He was a sub specialist in weapons and intelligence and was qualified as a surface warfare officer.
Upon retirement in 1985, he joined System Planning and Analysis, Inc. as Manager of Submarine Technology Systems, retiring in 1994 to Fort Myers Beach, FL. Retirement was unkind in that his wife Enid lost her battle with cancer. Subsequently, he met his current wife, Sandy. They built homes in both Fort Myers and Gainesville before moving in 2013 to Tallahassee to support the Student Veterans.
He is currently the coordinator for Veteran’s Volunteers at FSU Student Veterans Center.