Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran Continues Career at LDAC

U.S. Army photo by Joe Finley.

U.S. Army photo by Joe Finley.

When 9th Regiment Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Cadet James Climes stepped onto the basic rifle marksmanship range in green fatigues, an aura of ease and familiarity surrounded the future officer. It wasn’t the first time he’s handled an M-16 rifle. In fact, Climes has had more than a decade to become accustomed to the weapon.

Climes, a green to gold Cadet, has served in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom as an active duty Soldier. After a successful career overseas, he is training from specialist to officer through the Leader Development and Assessment Course at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

Climes served as an Army combat medic for which he received four Army commendation medals and a combat medical badge. A student at Armstrong Atlantic State University from Hinesville, Ga., Climes intends to pursue a career as an Army dietician.  Climes said his experience overseas has helped him excel at LDAC this summer.

“It helped expedite my learning process, because there are a lot of things that once you grow old in the military and military tenure, some things like the perishable skills that you have they fade away,” said Climes. “Some of the things I returned to here helped me get back in the mental focus and it allowed me to kind of be like a big father figure to the young Cadets who don’t have that kind of experience.”

Climes’ aptitude for mentorship carries beyond helping Cadets at LDAC and has also inspired his pursuit of a career in nutrition. While serving as a noncommissioned officer at Fort Jackson, S.C., Climes found enjoyment helping others achieve their fitness goals with healthy eating and training.

“I personally took it upon myself during free time to take them to the gym, work out with them, help them with the right foods,” said Climes. “When I saw so many results and the Soldiers that I helped would say, ‘Sergeant Climes helped me’, that was my calling there. I want to do that for the rest of my life.”

Outside of the Army, Climes is a father figure to his own growing family.  Climes and his wife, Tamarrow, have been married for five years and have one daughter. Tamarrow also serves in the Army, working at Fort Stewart, Ga. as an adjutant general.

“It’s great because we know what the military is like and we know that shifts can always be different,” said Climes. “As long as we know to hang up our Army uniform at the door when we come inside and basically enjoy our family time, we’re happy together.”

Climes’ family will continue to grow this fall as he and his wife prepare to welcome a son. In the meantime, the future officer continues to emphasize mentorship and family as cornerstones of his leadership skills at LDAC this summer.

“It’s a great group of cohesive guys and girls and a family because that’s what I treat them and tell them,” he said. “They’re all family to me.”

Story by Samantha Saldivar.

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