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Maj. Gen. Nathaniel James

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Information about Maj. Gen. Nathaniel James

Profile image of Maj. Gen. Nathaniel James

Profession

Category:
MilitaryMakers
Occupation(s):
Major General

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
July
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
7/28/1935
Birth Location:
Branchville, South Carolina

Profession

Category:
MilitaryMakers
Occupation(s):
Major General

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
July
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
7/28/1935
Birth Location:
Branchville
See how Maj. Gen. Nathaniel James is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Military Officer Nathaniel James is the former commanding General of the New York Army National Guard. Born on July 28, 1935, in the Branchville, South Carolina, his family migrated north to New York City during his childhood. James received early schooling in the New York City Public School system, and attended Theodore Roosevelt High School before graduating from Bronx Vocational High School. James then enrolled at the State University of New York, earning his A.A. degree in business and his B.A. degree in political science. After completing the ROTC training in college and subsequent two years of enlisted service, James was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in 1959, through the Army Artillery and Missile School.

During his 33 year career, James held a variety of positions and continued to develop his institutional knowledge of Army command, operations and strategy. James’ military education includes the Army Artillery and Missile School; Army Transportation School; Army Command and General Staff College; Army War College; and the National Interagency Counter Drugs Institute. In 1975, James became the commander for the 369th Transportation Battalion, 42nd Division Artillery and 42nd Division Support Command. Between 1988 and 1992, he served as the assistant adjutant general, Headquarters State Area Command, New York Army National Guard. Promoted to Major General on December 29, 1992, James became the first African American to obtain that rank in the history of the New York Army National Guard.

In addition to previously commanding the 369th Transportation Battalion James is the founder and president of both the 369th Veteran’s Association, Inc. and the 369th Historical Society, Inc. The 369th Regiment was originally called the 15th New York Infantry and they were the first African American regiment to engage in combat during World War II. After the war, 171 soldiers in that regiment were awarded the Croix de Guerre by the French Government, and German soldiers gave them the name, “Harlem Hell Fighters,” for the courage and valor they displayed in battle. James maintains hundreds of photographs and dozens of artifacts, papers, and other items to honor the legacy of the 369th Regiment.

James’ military decorations and awards include, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Medal, and the New York Humanitarian Service Medal.

Nathaniel James was interviewed by the The HistoryMakers on August 1, 2012.

See how Maj. Gen. Nathaniel James is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Nathaniel James' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Nathaniel James lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Nathaniel James describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Nathaniel James describes the hard life of working on the railroad
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Nathaniel James tells the story of his father's arrival in New York
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Nathaniel James describes his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Nathaniel James describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Nathaniel James discusses his father's aspirations
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Nathaniel James tells how his parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Nathaniel James describes his parents' personalities and talks about his siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Nathaniel James describes his earliest childhood memories pt.1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Nathaniel James describes his earliest childhood memories pt.2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Nathaniel James recalls the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Nathaniel James describes his elementary school experience in New York City
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Nathaniel James describes his childhood in New York City
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Nathaniel James talks about his favorite subject and teachers in elementary school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Nathaniel James describes his elementary school's student health inspection
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Nathaniel James discusses his family's move from Brooklyn to the Bronx and an incident that happened to him in elementary school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Nathaniel James describes his experience attending a predominantly white school and compares it to his previous school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Nathaniel James describes his childhood hobbies and his interest in engineering
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Nathaniel James recalls his first job and his high school experiences
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Nathaniel James talks about his childhood and youth
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Nathaniel James describes his enlistment in the New York Army National Guard's 369th Infantry Regiment pt.1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Nathaniel James describes his enlistment in the New York Army National Guard's 369th Infantry Regiment pt.2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Nathaniel James talks about race relations in the U. S. Army
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Nathaniel James describes his role as a Graves Registration Specialist in the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Nathaniel James discusses his military and civilian work
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Nathaniel James talks about meeting his wife and continuing his education
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Nathaniel James discusses his computer science coursework at Fordham University in the Bronx
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Nathaniel James talks about his interest in becoming a General
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Nathaniel James describes the formation and advocacy efforts of the Black Officers Association pt.1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Nathaniel James describes his rise to the rank of Major General
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Nathaniel James describes becoming commander of the 369th Infantry Regiment
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Nathaniel James talks about becoming the first African American commander of the 42nd Division Artillery
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Nathaniel James details his various promotions
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Nathaniel James describes the formation and advocacy efforts of the Black Officers Association pt.2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Nathaniel James describes his duties as a Two-Star General
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Nathaniel James talks about having to fire an ineffective Battalion Commander pt.1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Nathaniel James talks about having to fire an ineffective Battalion Commander pt.2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Nathaniel James discusses people's reactions to him being an African American Two-Star General in the New York Army National Guard
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Nathaniel James talks about his career as a Two-Star General in the New York Army National Guard
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Nathaniel James talks about an officer in the 369th Infantry Regiment who refused to fight in the Iraqi War
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Nathaniel James discusses the creation of the 369th Infantry Regiment Historical Society pt.1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Nathaniel James discusses the creation of the 369th Infantry Regiment Historical Society pt.2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Nathaniel James talks about the erection of the monument in France honoring the 369th Infantry Regiment's efforts during World War I
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Nathaniel James talks about the creation of a duplicate monument in honor of the 369th Infantry Regiment in New York City pt.1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Nathaniel James talks about the creation of a duplicate monument in honor of the 369th Infantry Regiment in New York City pt.2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Nathaniel James describes the move of the second 369th Infantry Regiment monument from Germany to the United States pt.1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Nathaniel James discusses development and programs at the 369th Infantry Regiment Historical Society, as well as the infantry's monument dedication
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Nathaniel James reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Nathaniel James reminisces about his late friend, William Miles and the 369th Regiment's portrayal in movies
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Nathaniel James describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Nathaniel James talks about his family and how he would like to be remembered