American Veteran 01

James "Jim" Drake James

October 27, 1937 ~ July 18, 2022 (age 84)

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Woolwich, ME - James “Jim” Drake James of Middle Road, passed away peacefully in his home on Monday morning, 18 July surrounded by his loved ones.


Jim was born on 28 Oct, 1937 in Philadelphia, PA, the son of Rear Admiral Walter F. and Esther (Crawford) James.  He attended the University of Illinois graduating in 1959 with a BS in Political Science and went on to earn his Master’s Degree in International Relations from North Carolina State University in 1972. While at the University of Illinois, he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.


Upon graduation from the University of Illinois, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, Infantry.  Thus, began over 29 years of service to his country. Most of that time was spent in Special Operations - Special Forces, Ranger, and Airborne units. While a Captain, he commanded a Special Forces “A” Detachment deployed to Ethiopia and served as an advisor to Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia. Jim deployed twice to Vietnam, once in 1966 where he was selected by the Division Commander to organize the first Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) Unit from the ground up. This LRRP/Ranger Unit is said to be the most decorated Ranger Unit in American History. A book was later written on this unit featuring Jim and his LRRP brethren entitled “Ghosts of the Highlands”. Jim deployed to Vietnam again in 1969 and served as a District Senior Advisor. Jim went on to command the 172nd Separate Infantry Brigade in Alaska. This unit was stretched all over Alaska and consisted of 5 battalions, an Air Cavalry Troop, an Engineer Unit and Command and Control Headquarters.


High-level staff positions included the Department of the Army Headquarters and the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. On the Army staff, he was responsible for fielding the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.


Jim’s military schooling includes Airborne School, Ranger School, Jumpmaster School, Pathfinder School, and the Special Forces “Q” course, among others. He also graduated from the National Defense University in Washington D.C.


Jim’s final military assignment was as the Assistant Division Commander, 1st Infantry Division, The Big Red One in Fort Riley, KS.


Jim’s awards and decorations include Bronze Star Medal w/ Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal (3), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Citation Award, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal w/ Silver (1) and Bronze (1) Star, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Overseas Service Ribbon, Master Parachutist Badge, Pathfinder Badge, Ranger Tab, Legion of Merit, Army Staff Identification Badge, Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal w/ 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, Meritorious Service Medal w/ 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, Special Forces Tab, and Bronze Star Medal w/ V Device 1st Oak Leaf Cluster.


Jim retired from the military and went to work at Bath Iron Works in the Engineering Department from 1988-2000 and served on the Board of Directors for the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) from 2012-2016.


Jim lived a life of adventure and challenges and fulfilled his mission of taking care of soldiers and their families.  He enjoyed spending time in the out of doors with his wife and sons engaged in activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, and hunting. 


He is predeceased by his parents; brother, Robert Crawford James, sister-in-law Ann Van Etten James; and daughter-in-law Erica Pepin James.  


He leaves behind his wife, Linda Hartness James; his son, James Hartness James, grandchildren Hollis and Peyton, and daughter-in-law, Kim; his son, Andrew Franklyn James, daughter-in-law, Kelly, and grandchildren Jackson and Riley.


A celebration of his life will be held from 4 PM to 6 PM on Tuesday, August 16, 2022, at the Bath Golf Club, Whiskeag Road, Bath.  Burial will be at Arlington Cemetery in Arlington with full military honors at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation,    


Arrangements are by Daigle Funeral Home, 819 High Street, Bath.  Condolences may be made online at 





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Celebration of Life
August 16, 2022

4:00 PM
Bath Golf Club
387 Whiskeag Road
Bath, ME 04530


Tunnel to Towers Foundation

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