James H. Bledsoe entered CMA in February 1945 and graduated as a member
of the Class of 1950. He entered the U.S. Army as an enlisted man
in February 1957. His abilities were quickly recognized and he entered
Officer's Candidate School and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant
of Infantry in September.
While commissioned as a Lieutenant of Infantry, he later served
with the United States Army Special Forces serving with such organizations
as the 1st, 3rd and 9th Infantry Divisions, the 1st Special Forces
Group (Airborne) and the XVIII Airborne Corps. Additionally, he
was selected to perform instructor duties at the United States Army
Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia, the Canadian Combat Arms
School and the Armed Forces College.
He served his country proudly during three separate tours of duty
in Vietnam between 1964 and 1971. These tours included serving with
the 1st Special Forces Group in 1964, the 9th Infantry Division
in 1966-67 and the I Corps in 1970-71. In addition to his tours
of duty in Vietnam, he served additional time overseas with the
1st Special Forces Group in Okinawa and as an exchange officer with
the Canadian Armed Forces at Camp Gagetown, New Brunswick.
His numerous awards and decorations include the Combat Infantryman's
Badge, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, three Bronze Stars
(two of which were for Valor), the Air Medal for Valor and the Purple
Heart. He also earned the American, Vietnamese and Canadian Parachute
badges, the Special Forces tab and was inducted into the Infantry
Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame. He retired from the Army
in 1988 as a Colonel after 32 years of service to his country.
His service to his country did not end with his military duty.
He received special individual recognition in three states, being
recognized as a Kentucky Colonel and serving as Aide-de-Camp to
Governors of both Alabama and Tennessee. Colonel Jim's devotion
and dedication to CMA were demonstrated while he served as the President
of the Columbia Military Academy Alumni Association from 1990 to
1994. He was instrumental in the association obtaining and restoring
CMA's cannon and caisson and in the preservation and presentation
of CMA memorabilia. He continued to serve the association when his
time as President was up and remains an active member of the CMA
Alumni Association. Colonel Jim's actions as a cadet, soldier, citizen
and CMA alumnus reflect highly on his character and his love for
his school and his country.