James J. McBride was born in Melrose Park, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago, in 1935. He spent his childhood growing up in Baraboo, Wisconsin and was the oldest of four boys. James attended Catholic grade school, and thereafter high school seminary, where he graduated in 1954. He was a member of the Wisconsin National Guard for two years before entering college at Marquette University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Journalism.

Although, he studied journalism and writing in college, James respected the armed forces and felt a strong desire to serve his country. In 1960, he joined the United States Navy (USN) and went through the Officer Candidate Program in Newport, Rhode Island where he was commissioned an Ensign. James was selected for the navy flight program. In 1961, he completed basic flight training at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola and attended advance training in Corpus Christi, Texas. His first squadron tour of duty was with Transport Squadron 22 flying C-118 aircraft (1962-1964) out of NAS Norfolk, Virginia where he was nicknamed J.J. by his fellow naval aviators. During this important tour of duty, J.J. participated in the Cuban Missile Crisis flying missions in and out of Guantanamo naval airfields. In 1964, he was transferred to VAW-12, an airborne early warning squadron. His detachment made a Mediterranean cruise in 1964 and WestPac (Vietnam) combat deployment on board the USS Independence CVA-62 in 1965.

got to books
In 2005, James J. McBride
wrote Fort Stanton Marine Hospital

J.J. was a basic flight instructor in Training Squadron One at NAS Saufley Field, Pensacola, Florida (1966). Lieutenant (Lcdr) J.J. McBride transferred to Training Squadron Four at NAS Sherman Field and transitioned to jet trainer T-2B. During his two years (1967-1969), he taught basic flying and became a LSO (Landing Signal Officer) for student carrier qualifying. J.J. was the squadron Instructor of the Year 1968.

In 1969, USN fleet orders sent him to Jacksonville, Florida, and Attack Squadron 12 (VA-12) at NAS Cecil Field. Lcdr. J.J. McBride deployed with the squadron on board the USS Shangri-La, CVS-38, Air Wing 7 (1970) for a nine and a half month WestPac deployment. His experience as a combat attack pilot and diary entries, during this tour of duty, resulted in his first book, SHANG LOG. His squadron transitioned to the Corsair II A-7E aircraft and made a Mediterranean deployment on board the USS Independence, CVA-62, from 1971 to 1972.

In 1972, J.J. received orders to the LTV factory in Dallas, Texas and became Flight Director of the Naval Plant Representative office. For J.J., these two years (1972 – 1974), as production test pilot flying Navy A7-E and Air Force A7-D aircraft, were the best of his naval career. His next flight duty orders were to VA-192 in NAS Lemoore, California (1974 – 1976). During this tour he deployed to WestPac on board the USS Kitty Hawk, CVA-63. After 13 years of active flying, 5,500 hours and 430 carrier landings, newly promoted Commander (Cdr.) McBride was assigned as Strike Operations Officer on board USS Enterprise, CVN-65, where he served from 1976 to 1978.

J.J.’s next assignment was Publication Branch head at Naval Weapons Evaluation Facility, Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, New Mexico (1978 – 1982). During this time, he was team leader of the Navy Hot Air Balloon Team. His final tour of duty, was a staff position as Commander in Chief Naval Forces Europe, in London, England (1982 – 1985). In July 1985, J.J. retired at Treasure Island Naval Station, San Francisco, California after 24 years of active service duty.

Shortly after his retirement from the U.S. Navy, J.J. taught high school naval science (NJROTC) at Milpitas H.S., California and Santa Fe H.S., Santa Fe, New Mexico. After teaching three years, J.J. decided to go back to school, where he received a Master of Arts degree (MA) in History from the University of New Mexico (1996). In 2003, he wrote INTERNED, Internment of the SS Columbus Crew at Fort Stanton, New Mexico (1941-1945). Two years later, he wrote FORT STANTON MARINE HOSPITAL, Public Health Service (1899-1953). J.J. is active in the preservation of Fort Stanton and has given talks and tours on the internment camp area at Fort Stanton, New Mexico.

During his 20 years in Santa Fe, J.J. has been a volunteer/board member of Historic Santa Fe
Foundation, staff/volunteer/docent for El Rancho de Las Golondrinas living history outdoor museum, volunteer usher at Lensic Performing Arts Theater and is a member of the New Mexico Historical Society.

James J. McBride is married and has three adult children.

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