MAJ (Ret) James E. Tomlin
Major (Retired) James E. Tomlin is inducted into the UTA Military Science Hall of Honor in recognition of his distinguished career and service to the nation and lifelong leadership as officer in the active Army and contractor in the Defense Industry. His life reflects unique experience and skills that enabled him to provide perspective and valued leadership in combat aviation, load planning, threat capabilities assessment and modeling, logistics planning, and force requirements that had defense-wide impact on Army, Marine, and Air Force systems development and fielding. James grew up in Fort Worth and was a 1959 graduate of Amon Carter Riverside High School and ROTC. He enrolled at Arlington State College (now UTA) and ROTC the following semester. By his senior year, Cadet Tomlin had leadership roles in the NCO and Officers’ Clubs; marched as Guide on the Sam Houston Rifles from 1961-1963; and served on the Battalion staff. Being a member of the first ROTC flight class led to his becoming a fixed-wing and rotary-wing pilot. He was a Distinguished Military Graduate in 1963, with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management, and was commissioned Infantry in the Regular Army. In 1972 he earned an MS in Systems Management (Aerospace emphasis) from the University of Southern California.
Following OBC, Ranger and Airborne Schools, 2LT Tomlin was assigned a platoon in the 5th Mech Inf Div at Fort Carson. From 1964-65 he attended Fixed-Wing Flight School at Fort Rucker and deployed to Vietnam with his unit then reassigned to the 74th Recon Airplane Co. Their Cessna 0-1/L-19 Birddog mission was reconnaissance, forward air control, radio relay, artillery adjustment, and close air support. For action on 13 March1967, while flying air cover for an ARVN Bn, he destroyed an enemy ambush and received the South Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Bronze Star. For action on 31 March 1967, while flying air cover for a U.S. Bn, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for destroying an enemy force that pinned down two lead company platoons. In his two tours to Vietnam, Tomlin was awarded 33 Air Medals; his 24th Air Medal was with V device. Flying the Command-and-Control aircraft over a mission to extract a US long-range patrol, Captain Tomlin spotted and retrieved a wounded enemy soldier from the edge of the LZ who proved to be an invaluable intelligence source. Tomlin transferred to Military Intelligence following the IOAC and was assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency as an intelligence analyst as the Bulgarian Desk Officer. As a certified Satellite Photo Interpreter, he worked closely with CIA and NSA intel analysts and the Military Attaché in Sofia, Bulgaria. Following assignment as Special Security Officer, Redstone Arsenal for the Missile Intelligence Agency, he was assigned to S.H.A.P.E. Belgium, International Intelligence Div. His team tracked Warsaw Pact nuclear-capable ground forces for SACEUR. He served as the Army Development and Acquisition of Threat Simulators Commander and Field-site Test Director during joint and combined exercises.
He retired in 1983 after 20 years of active service. Tomlin went to work for Lockheed Martin as an intelligence analyst and returned to NATO to initiate threat data transfer between U.S. and Allied operations analysts and engineers to establish threat system performance parameters and countermeasures. As Systems Engineer he spent the next 33 years teaming with program engineers and providing in-depth Operational Analysis support. His aviation, intel, and operations expertise extended across a broad spectrum of programs and systems from drones, C-17 aircraft, B-2 Bomber, Army robotic ground vehicles, Marine Corps amphibious vehicles, armored personnel carriers, and missiles to air defense systems. Among the numerous awards he received over the years, unique was an individual spot award from outside Lockheed Martin (Boeing).
He is married to Annette, who was a Sam Houston Rifles sweetheart in 1963; they currently reside in Grand Prairie, Texas. He is a strong supporter of the Boy Scouts of America. They also support the St. Joseph's Lakota Indian School, the Reagan Ranch, the White House Historical Society, and the National Air and Space Museum, among others. Their entire extended family continues to support UTA and the ROTC program, a part of the foundation for their service and dedication to the defense of our nation.