Just a verse, not the whole song.

My name is James Mark McBride, I am an intense, driven and committed person with a deep appreciation for family, education and music.  My life and military career have been an ongoing cycle of setting goals and accomplishing them and that is truly what I love.

People join the military for all different reasons, but for me personally, 9/11 was the game changer. That day was a pivotal moment and I was determined not to miss out on what was happening, so my 17 year military career began.  My first enlistment was in the Navy as an Aviation Search & Rescue Swimmer, during that time I also completed my undergraduate degree.  Quite honestly, I had zero plans on staying past my fist enlistment, but there was a pull and desire to keep going.  I then attended Army Flight School to fly the Apache Longbow for the North Carolina National Guard.

I never made the decision to get out, my body made that decision for me.  I had been training to be a maintenance test pilot and was still having a lot of fun and thoroughly enjoyed it, until I got injured.  Walking away from it all created a loss and leaving the camaraderie was without a doubt the hardest part.  I miss the dysfunctional family surrogate and their unrelenting need to project sarcasm onto even the most inappropriate situations. This was a period in my life when core values were instilled, but it was just a verse, not the whole song.

There is an ever present desire in me to make a difference. I want my relationships and career to not only be meaningful, but impactful.  I am a firm believer that we only get one chance at life, so why compromise?  I strive for healthy growth, to raise my kids in a healthy family and to develop broad career mastery.  My advice to Veteran’s getting out is this: You have changed, not the world. You are more effective now and have an advantage because compared to your peers, you know how to work harder, plan smarter, execute and suffer. Get ready for life to feel slow. Have a plan. Execute the plan, adjust and then execute again.

James, his wife & 2 kids live in Southern California.  He earned an MBA from Liberty University, writes and records children’s songs and has built a successful career in contract management and business operations. If you would like to learn more about James and his post-military career, please e-mail [email protected]

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