James D Bray
Veteran Honor Ceremony - Captain James David Bray, Retired
Captain Jim Bray earned his Bachelor’s Degree from The Ohio State University in 1973. He also earned a commission as Ensign in the US Navy through the NROTC Program following graduation. He earned his master’s degree in National Security Affairs in 1976 at the Naval Post-Graduate School in Monterey, California.
Jim’s first ship assignment was in USS ROBERT H MCCARD (DD 822) stationed in Tampa, Florida as Communications Officer, Navigator and Electronics Material Officer. During this tour he volunteered to deploy for three months in USS CONE (DD 866) as Reserve Coordinator during their deployment to the Mediterranean. During his time aboard MCCARD the Captain was so impressed that he elevated him to acting Executive Officer for the remainder of his tour.
His follow-on tours at sea included as Weapons Officer aboard USS TRUETT (FF 1095), where he got a ship’s main gun fully operational after 5 years of non-operation;
As Chief Engineer in USS HERMITAGE (LSD 34), a 26-year old amphibious ship, later deploying to the Mediterranean casualty free;
As Second in Command of USS JUNEAU (LPD 10) and as
Assistant Chief of Staff for Logistics with Commander Carrier Group 4 embarked aboard USS INDEPENDENCE (CV 62) where he was responsible for all logistical support for ships in the Arabian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm.
His intelligence assignments included Assistant Chief of Staff for Special Operations for the Navy Operational Intelligence Command in Suitland, Maryland responsible for the most sensitive operations in the Navy and kept the President briefed. Between operations he was honored to be selected for additional duties as escort for Barbara Bush’s sister throughout the events of the 1989 presidential inauguration.
He traveled extensively throughout Europe while serving as Intelligence Officer at the Navy Liaison Unit in Munich, Germany and developed the first multi-service coordination meetings to reduce collection redundancy.
Additional assignments included Assistant Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations for Commander Naval Surface Force Pacific on Coronado, responsible for scheduling all Pacific ship’s pre-deployment training;
And as second in command of all Amphibious Forces in the Pacific Fleet based in Okinawa, Japan.
Selected for Command at Sea, he served as Commanding Officer of USS GERMANTOWN (LSD 42) where the ship completed a successful change of home port from San Diego, California to Sasebo, Japan earning every possible ship award during his time in command, including the coveted Battle E Award.
After promotion to Captain, he commanded USS TARAWA (LHA 1) deploying to the Middle East during which the ship also received numerous awards.
He made it one of his career goals to learn different job skills in the Navy, a challenging task, and to travel to 56 countries during his 26-year career, 14 of those years were on sea duty.
His personal medals include: Three Legion of Merit medals for “exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements,” two Meritorious Service Medals, the Joint Service Commendation Medal and the Navy Commendation Medal as well as the Expert Pistol and Rifle medals. Captain Bray retired in 1999 after more than 26 years of distinguished service.