USMC, 1st Radio Battalion, Vietnam Veterans
Purple Heart Medal

James Ayers

Biography written for Signal Intelligence Officers School Award *

Capt Brent A. Hampton, SIOC Director
November, 30 2005

James Westley Ayers was born 31 October 1934 in Moncks Corner, South Carolina. J. W. Ayers was the eighth of nine children, only two of which were girls. He played first team varsity football and was a class officer his senior year at Berkeley High School, class of 1952. He even coaxed several boys to join the Glee Club, adding needed male voices and “to broaden their cultural experience”. Being a small high school class, most of the students had grown up together and all knew J. W. and considered him a good person.

In the fall of 1952 “Jim” became a cadet at The Citadel. On campus he was known to go for daily runs no matter what the weather and he also did well academically. As a junior he decided to make high enough grades to earn "Gold Stars" for his blouse, and then proudly wore them for a semester. His leadership traits began to show as he started mentoring and tutoring freshman, as they struggled with academics and “Plebe” duties. Growing debt caused him to change his major from Pre-Med to Political Science, and thus he graduated in 1957.

James W. Ayers joined the Marine Corps 5 April 1957 and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant 13 January 1958. Then he was promoted to Captain 1 July 1962 (MOS 2502), and selected for Major in 1966 (source: 1967 Lineal List [Blue book]).

Capt Ayers served as Officer in Charge of the 2d Radio Company Detachment (Det L) at the Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He was also the first Commanding Officer, Company K, Marine Support Battalion, Naval Training Center, (now Marine Corps Detachment) Pensacola, Florida, and served as the Commanding Officer of Company H, Marine Support Battalion, Homestead, Florida.

Capt Ayers, on his third tour to Vietnam, was killed in action during Operation Union II as the Communications Platoon Commander, Headquarters and Service Company, Third Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment, First Marine Division in Quang Tin, Republic of Vietnam on Friday 26 May 1967. His name appears on Panel 20E, Row 110 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. He is buried about 300 yards from his parents house, where he was born, on Sugar Hill Road, Moncks Corner, SC.

* The "James W Ayers Honor Graduate Award" is granted to the Signals Intelligence Officer Course student who earns the highest grade point average. It was first awarded with class 05-01, which ran from 2 May to 14 July, 2005. The SIOC is conducted at the Navy Marine Corps Intelligence Training Center (NMITC), Naval Air Station Oceana, Dam Neck Annex, Virginia Beach, VA.