PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colorado -- U.S. Strategic Command's Joint Functional Component Command Space (JFCC Space) has a new brigadier general.
U.S. Army Col. Thomas James, deputy commander of JFCC Space, a 34-year Army veteran, was promoted to brigadier general during a ceremony at Peterson Air Force Base, Nov. 14, which was attended by his family, colleagues and friends.
U.S. Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, and U.S. Air Force Gen. John Raymond, commander of Air Force Space Command, both delivered remarks during the ceremony in honor of James.
"The first thing everyone needs to know, is that there are two four-star generals in this room that would not be here if it wasn't for Tom James," said Hyten. "You can't even describe what he did for us when we were deployed together."
In 2006, James served under Hyten, in Southwest Asia during operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
"Thank you to Gen. Hyten and Gen. Raymond for being a part of this," said James in his remarks to the audience. "You have both greatly honored me and my family by being part of today's ceremony. You've been tremendous mentors for over a decade now. You have served me well as role models and shown me what right looks like."
After reciting the oath of office led by Raymond, James uncased his general officer flag and was presented with his general officer belt and pistol, customary of a promotion to the rank of general officer.
"There is clearly a need for men and women to defend our nation, Constitution, freedoms and way of life," said James. "Evil is on this planet and it manifests itself in many ways. Turn on the TV and the one thing you cannot find on any channel is peace breaking out. It's why we have a military."
James' career began as an enlisted Soldier. He ascended in rank from private to brigadier general during a career spanning four decades, held multiple Army qualifications, worked in many functional areas, and had numerous overseas tours including seven combat deployments.
"War is not a pretty thing," said Hyten. "It is something that I hope to never do again. But if I ever do it again, I want [James] somewhere close to me, because if he's somewhere close to me, we're going to get through it and we're going to win. That's just who he is. He is amazing."
James said much of what he learned in Basic Combat Training applies to every level of the Army and shared one message in particular that stuck with him.
"Soldiering is hard; it's dangerous work," said James. "Attention to detail can be a matter of success and failure on the battlefield and leadership and genuine care for your troopers is foundational to what makes the Army work.
"That I'm allowed to continue to stand with my sisters and brothers in arms and stare down evil at the national security level is supremely important to me," James added. "My career has been a path of relationships with incredible people who have taken the time to teach and mentor me and to all of those, I say a heartfelt thank you."