Staff Sergeant James Bates was born and raised in Eagle River, Alaska. He enlisted in the Army National Guard in 1999 at the age of 18 and attended basic training at Fort Benning, GA where he was awarded the Military Occupational Specialty of Infantryman (11B) upon graduation. He lives in Grovetown, Georgia with his wife and 3 children.
As an Infantryman, Bates has participated in OIF, OEF, OFS and ORS serving in both traditional and non-traditional Infantry roles. In addition to deployments, Bates served as a Military Policeman for 4 years conducting site security at a Ground Based Mid-Course Missile Defense Complex, 2 years as an Air Assault/Rappel Master Instructor with the ARNG Warrior Training Center, 1 year as a Training NCO and 1 year as an RSP NCO. Bates also honorably served 2 years in the United States Coast Guard.
Most recently Bates returned from ORS where the unit was tasked with maintaining continuity between SFAB deployments. In addition to advising several ANA counterparts Bates was elected to plan, coordinate, execute and oversee an 8 week training program for a 126 man ANA Air-Assault capable Infantry Company (Eagle Strike). By request, Bates also developed and delivered realistic scenario-based firearms training for HQ TAAC-S staff, the Military Advisor Team, the Ops & Plans Team and components from the Bulgarian, Romanian and Australian forces.
SSG Bates’ awards include the Bronze Star Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with (3 OLC), the Army Achievement Medal with (4 OLC) the Good Conduct Medal, the Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign medal (2 stars), the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Ribbon with M device and numeral 2, the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with numeral 2, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon and the Army Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon with numeral 4.