January 17, 2024

Lt. General promoted in same armory where he took Oath of Enlistment

Therese Apel

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Kevin Mangum (left) administers the Oath of Office to Army Lt. Gen. Thomas James during a promotion ceremony December 15th, 2023 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. James, a native of Petal, Mississippi, returned home to have his promotion ceremony in the same place he began his military career when he enlisted in the Mississippi National Guard in November 1982. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Amber Milsap)

Surrounded by family and friends, Maj. Gen. Thomas L. James of Petal, Mississippi, was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general, Friday, Dec. 15, 2023, at the Mississippi National Guard armory in Hattiesburg.

It was at this same armory that James took his initial Oath of Enlistment joining the Mississippi National Guard in November 1982. He started his military career serving with the 2nd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne), as a Team medic.

“This location is important to me for this promotion ceremony, because it all began here,” said Lt. Gen. Thomas James, deputy commanding general of U.S. Space Command.

Established in August 2019, the U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM) is the 11th and newest unified Combatant Command. The headquarters is located at Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado, with components and tactical formations spread around the world. USSPACECOM is comprised of more than 18,000 service members, civilians, and contractors operating ground and space-based systems. USSPACECOM is responsible for defending the U.S. and its allies’ interests in the space domain while providing space-enabled combat effects to joint warfighters to ensure there is never a day without space presence.

“This place is representative of what I want around me for this ceremony today. The engine
room that generates the torque and power of the U.S. military. That provides the protection that
defends our freedoms and way of life,” said James. “This armory is like so many others where
soldiers prepare every day for the worst our potential enemies can throw at us.”

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Kevin Mangum, a friend, mentor and senior Army aviation officer to James, served as the senior officer hosting the promotion ceremony. Mangum completed 35 years of distinguished service, a legacy which includes a 2015 selection by the Chief of Staff of the Army to lead the Holistic Army Aviation Task Force (HAATF), designed to shape the future of Army Aviation. His final U.S. Army assignment was as Deputy Commander of Training and Doctrine Command.

The ceremony included the official publication of the promotion order, the pinning of lieutenant general rank by James’ family, the administration of the Oath of Office, and the furling of a two-star general’s flag and the unfurling of a three-star general officer’s flag, symbolizing the change in rank and responsibilities that come with the promotion. Following the promotion ceremony, James had some assistance with the cake cutting ceremony from the next generation of soldiers at Petal High School’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps.

James concluded the official portion of the ceremony with words of thanks and gratitude saying, “I absolutely love what I do. It’s a privilege and a humbling experience to get the chance to do what I do.”

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