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Biographical Information
[Army - Active Service]  [Army - Civilian Service]  [Scouting Service]

James A. Sheckels

I was born at the Navy hospital at NAS Jacksonville, Florida, though I was raised in Knoxville, Tennessee. I married my high school sweetheart (Becky) in 1977 and we have two children, Katrina and Kenneth. I am a civil service employee at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.


Chairman of the Kia Kima District of Occoneechee Council #421 and Associate Lodge Advisor for Communications, Occoneechee Lodge 104. I am also a member of the leadership development team for the council National Jamboree Committee.

Committee Chairman , Crew 32, chartered to Hair-Matthews Post 32, American Legion, of which I am the First Vice-Commander& BSA Chartered Organization Representative.

I was previously District Commissioner of the District, as well as Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 742, Committee Chairman of Crew 742, and Committee Member of Pack 742.  These units are sponsored by the Hope Mills United Methodist Church in Hope Mills, North Carolina.

While in Virginia from Dec 2005 - July 2008, I served as District Chairman of the Colonial Trail District, Colonial Virginia Council and was Unit Commissioner for the council's #1 best unit, Troop 32, led by one of my best friends, Scoutmaster Dan Williamson.  This Troop is in Carrollton, VA.

I have been in Scouting for over forty years, starting out in 1967 as a Cub Scout, then Boy Scout and an Explorer.  I made rank to Life Scout. 

As an adult Scouter, I have been a Scoutmaster, Cubmaster, Den Leader, Crew, Pack & Troop Committee Chairman, Chartered Organization Representative (formerly called Scouting Coordinator), Assistant Council Commissioner, District Commissioner, Unit Commissioner, Assistant District Commissioner, Unit Commissioner, Boy Scout Roundtable Commissioner, and member of Council & District Committees.

I have received the BSA 40 year Veteran Award; Silver Beaver award; Community Organization Award (Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal), Distinguished Commissioner Award (as District Commissioner and Roundtable Commissioner); District Award of Merit; Scouter's Key (as District Commissioner & Scoutmaster); Scoutmaster's Award of Merit; Cubmaster Training Award; Scouter's Training Award (for Scouter, Cub Scouter, and Roundtable Staff); Den Leader Training Award; Scout Religious Award (God & Country - Baptist); the Arrow of Light; Commissioner's Arrowhead Honor; and a Doctorate of Commissioner Sciences degree. I am a Woodbadger, wearing three beads and hold the Vigil Honor in the Order of the Arrow since 1972.

I was honored to receive the District Scouter's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005 from the Kia Kima District.


I joined the US Army in 1976 and retired in August 1996 after a little more than 20 years of service.

For most of my career I was assigned to units at Fort Bragg, North Carolina including:

82d Airborne Division units: 1st Battalion (Airborne) 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment (1976-79)
1st Squadron (Air), 17th Cavalry (1980-81)
21st Chemical Company (Airborne) (1989 -90)
Headquarters, 82d Aviation Brigade (1990-91)
82d Airborne Division Chemical Section (1991-92)
and 1st Battalion (Attack), 82d Aviation Brigade (Apache helicopter) (1992-1993).

Special Operations units:

1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (1981-85)
1st Special Operations Command (DCSOPS) (1985-89)

Other Assignments:

Headquarters, 18th Aviation Brigade (S3), Ft Bragg (1993-94)
128th Aviation Company (Air Assault) in Uijongbu, Korea (1979-80)
Western Air Defense Sector of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (
NORAD) at McChord Air Force Base, Washington (1994-96).

Some noteworthy personal achievements -

Military - I achieved the rank of First Sergeant/E8. My badges and decorations include: The Defense Meritorious Service Medal, two Army Meritorious Service Medals, six Army Commendation Medals, the Joint Achievement Medal, two Army Achievement Medals, six Good Conduct Medals, the National Defense Service Medal, Cold War Service Certificate[1], Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal[2], Southwest Asia Service Medal with two campaign stars, Korea Defense Service Medal [1] [2], NonCommissioned Officer's Professional Development Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon (Korea 79-80), Army Service Ribbon, Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal from the governments of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Presidential Unit Citation[2], and Army Superior Unit Service award; Combat[2] & Expert Infantryman Badge, Aircrewman badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Thailand Master Parachutist Badge, Korean Parachutist Badge, and Expert Badge for rifle, pistol, machinegun, rocket launcher, grenade launcher and hand grenade. I have a Combat Service distinguishing unit insignia for the 82d Airborne Division for service in the Southwest Asia combat theatre during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and Combat Service distinguishing unit insignia for Special Forces and 1st Special Operations Command for service in Central America[2].

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Civil Service - Army

I am presently an Acquisition Program Manager with Joint Special Operations Command at Ft Bragg, NC.

I previously served as a Deployment Team Chief.  I work with the 3rd Brigade (Panthers), 82d Airborne Division, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  In my position, I am a deployable civilian, which means where my combat brigade team goes, I go.  I have served as a civilian in the Global War on Terrorism, supporting our military's outstanding efforts while serving during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Qataar, and Khyrghystan and during Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq and Kuwait.

I worked as a Department of Defense contractor with the Joint Deployment Division, J9, Joint Forces Command in Suffolk, VA from 2005-2008 as a Joint Warfighting Analyst.

I have received the Commander's Award for Civilian Service, the Civilian Service Achievement Medal, Civilian Service Medal[2],and was nominated as the Fort Bragg, NC GS-11 category Employee of the Year for 2005.

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[1] - An effort is underway to approve the Cold War Service Medal.  See here for more information about the Cold War Veteran's Association and their efforts..  Additionally, efforts  by the Korea Defense Veterans of America have resulted in approval of the Korea Defense Service Medal (See message) to be provided to all of America's best whom have defended Korea from 28 July 1954 to a date to be determined.

[2] - Often times service members learn of awards authorized long after they leave a particular service.  Those items annotated with this note are among those I have learned of since retiring from the Army and departing Civil Service that have been approved for award wear.  Many service members may not know they are authorized these awards.  The various services and DoD have procedures for obtaining the awards; orders may or may not be issued dependent on the award and the individual situation.

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Last revised: November 28, 2013