- (906) 487-2650
Professor of Military Science
MSIV Class Instructor
LIEUTENANT COLONEL JAMES SPENCE (US ARMY), a native of Illinois, entered active duty in 1989 graduating from the U.S. Military Academy with a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering (Aerospace Systems). He was commissioned as an Infantry officer, completing the Infantry Officer Basic Course and U.S. Army Ranger school enroute to his first assignment with the 4th Battalion, 22nd Infantry, 25th Infantry Division, where he served as a Rifle Platoon Leader, Support Platoon Leader, and Rifle Company Executive Officer. During this tour, among other exercises, LTC Spence led elements in joint exercises with the armies of Japan and the Republic of Korea. LTC Spence volunteered for Special Forces duty in 1993, completing SF Assessment and Selection, the Infantry Officer Advanced Course, Special Forces Detachment Officer Qualification Course and Thai Language training, before being assigned to 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Lewis, Washington. LTC Spence served two and one half years as Detachment Commander, Operational Detachment Alpha-196, then as 1st Special Forces Group Assistant Operations Officer, then Commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Company. During this tour he commanded or supported deployments and joint exercises with the Korean, Royal Thai, Philippine and Malaysian special operations forces (SOF). In 2000, LTC Spence was assigned to Special Operations Command Pacific (SOCPAC) at Camp Smith, Hawaii, serving as Chief, Ground Operations Branch, executing joint training exercises with the Royal Australian Army and Army of the Republic of Korea. LTC Spence was then assigned as Chief, Special Operations Counterdrug and Demining Programs. LTC Spence worked with the Royal Thai Army, Thai Border Patrol Police and Thai Narcotics Suppression Bureau, executing programs to empower affected nations to manage smuggling of illicit narcotics. LTC Spence also served as Humanitarian Demining Program Manager for SOCPAC, working throughout Southeast Asia, providing U.S. assistance to nations seeking to clean up unexploded ordnance and landmines from the multiple past conflicts in the region. Here he provided oversight and support to demining programs for the Laotian People’s Democratic Republic’s humanitarian demining center (UXO LAO), the Cambodia Mine Action Center (CMAC) and the Army of Vietnam’s Bomb and Mine Committee (BOMICO).
In 2002, LTC Spence attended the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC), at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, completing the one year mid-career course for Army and sister service officers, focusing on joint and multi-national land warfare operations. During this year, LTC Spence also completed his Masters in Business Administration from Webster University.
LTC Spence returned to 1st Special Forces Group at Fort Lewis, assuming command of C Company, 2nd Battalion. He commanded C Company for two years, deploying the headquarters and/or assigned ODAs or “A-Teams” to Nepal, Bangladesh, Korea and Thailand, as well as a full company rotation to Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, the company executed operations across Khowst, Paktia and Paktika provinces, including the border with Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The company’s A-Teams worked throughout these provinces, training Afghan military forces, executing security patrols and capturing key enemy individuals while working to integrate regional elected, appointed and tribal officials into a coherent government, capable of providing security and stability to the Afghan population.
Upon return from Operation Enduring Freedom, LTC Spence was assigned to Fort Leavenworth, serving at the Battle Command Training Program as an Observer-Trainer (coach and evaluator) for Army divisions enroute to Iraq and Afghanistan. LTC Spence then served at CGSC from 2007-2009 as a Special Operations Instructor, and then as Chief, SOF Education Element, overseeing the special operations curriculum for the U.S. Army’s special operations branches of Civil Affairs, Psychological Operations and Special Forces.
LTC Spence’s awards & decorations include the Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal with two Oak Leaf clusters, the GWOT Expeditionary and Service Medals, and the Humanitarian Service Ribbon. He is a graduate of the Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the Special Forces Qualification Course, Thai Language school and the Army Command and General Staff Officer Course. His military qualifications include Airborne, Air Assault, Ranger, Special Forces, Static Line Jumpmaster, Military Freefall Parachutist and Master Parachutist badges.