JAMES S LITTLE
HOME : PORTERVILLE, CA
Plaque : Wall 1, Row D, Col 8
James Stewart Little was born December 8, 1942 in Porterville, CA to Mr. and Mrs. Stewart Little of Strathmore, CA. He is the eldest of four children. Following graduation from Strathmore Union High School in 1960, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy on June 30, 1960 at the age of 17 and a half. Following boot camp, he was assigned to the USS Haven (Hospital ship) stationed in Long Beach, CA. This assignment was for six months while he was being investigated fro a secret clearance, prior to Nuclear Weapons School training. He attended schools in Great Lakes Naval Station, Illinois, and Albuquerque, NM. He was assigned for one year at Naval Air Station, Keflavik, Ireland. He was assigned to the USS independence (aircraft carrier), and participated in the Cuban Naval Blockade during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. In 1964 he was assigned to the USS Ticonderoga (aircraft carrier), and was onboard in the South China Sea during the Tonkin Gulf Incident, which signaled the beginning of the Vietnam War. From 1964 to 1972 he was assigned to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington, Naval Magazine Guam, Marianas Islands, and the USS Oriskany (aircraft carrier). During the Vietnam War he deployed to the war zone five times for a total of 30 months in a hostile fire zone, and was stationed in Da Nang, South Vietnam for a short period. During the war he was awarded various medals, including a citation from the Commander of the Seventh Fleet for his performance during combat operations. He was assigned to Naval Supply Center, Oakland, California, during this time he married the former Carmen Oquendo, of Utuado, Puerto Rico. He was assigned again to Naval Magazine Guam Marianas Islands, for a period of three years. During his next assignment to Joint Nuclear Weapons Pulications System Office, Albuquerque New Mexico, he was selected by a special selection board for a commission as a Chief Warrant Officer. An officer promoted from the enlisted ranks is called a Mustang, and the Navy commission is granted by the president on the basis of his or her performance, that is akin to an Army or Marine corp. battlefield commission. The total Mustang warrant officer group was only 722 out of the Navy officer total of 71,600 the year of his commissioning in 1980. As an officer he was assigned to the USS Midway (aircraft carrier) as a division officer. The Midway was the nation’s only forward deployed carrier, home ported out of Yokosuka, Japan. While onboard the Midway, his division set many records of achievement. His division was the only carrier nuclear weapons division in the Navy to pass a rigid Joint Chief of Staff Nuclear Surety Inspection without any discrepancies, for over a four year period. Also a source of pride was the fact that during his three years as a division officer, each sailor of his 34 man crew requested to extend their assignment to Midway while he as division officer. His next assignment following Midway, was a nuclear weapons project officer in the Stockpile Maintenance Branch of Field Command Nuclear Agency, Albuquerque, New Mexico. In this assignment, one of his jobs was the initial deployment of the Ground Launched Cruise Missile to Europe, which has been recognized as one of the main factors that caused the fall of the Soviet Union. As a project officer he was responsible for the maintenance of over one-third of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile. He was next assigned to Washington, D.C. as an assignment and detailer officer of 1,500 mustang officers. He was selected for this job by the Chief of Naval Military Personnel, and directed the assignments and careers of the officers he was responsible for. He was the first Nuclear Weapons Technician to be assigned to this job, which is recognized as one of the most difficult jobs in the Navy. His last assignment of a 30-year career was as the Commanding Officer of a Sound Surveillance Underwater System (SOSUS) base in Charleston, Oregon. The mission of the base was to listen for hostile submarines. He retired as a Chief Warrant Officer W-4, on February 28, 1991, the highest rank a Chief Warrant Officer could attain. During his career, each year at Christmas, Faith Baptist Church or Strathmore mailed him a huge box of cookies and candy. In a unique set of circumstances, the year he retired (1991), on his birthday December 8th, was the date recognized as the day the Soviet Union ceased to exist, and the end of the Cold War. He could not image a better birthday gift. During his career he was awarded 29 medals and ribbons, and various letters of appreciation and commendation. His highest award was the Meritorious Service Medal awarded by the President of the United States. In September 1991, the president ordered the removal of all tactical nuclear weapons from naval surface vessels, which resulted in the end of the Navy nuclear weaponsman’s job in the Navy. He has written a 490 page book entitled Brotherhood of Doom: Memoirs of a Navy Nuclear Weaponsman which details his career, and describes the history of nuclear weapons in the Navy. The book is dedicated to the LTJG Douglas M. Wester, who he witnessed killed during a Nuclear War Readiness exercise. The completion of this book was made possible by the fact that his mother, Imogene Little kept every letter he wrote to her and his father during his 30-year stay in the Navy. In retirement in Coos Bay, Oregon he served as president of the Southern Oregon Chapter of the Retired Officer’s Association for three years. Moving to Roseburg, Oregon in 2002, he has served as president of the Souther Oregon Warbirds, for three years. The Warbirds is a club of over 100 veterans, many members are WWII pilots. He also served as president of the Douglas County Veterans Forum for three years a coalition of the 20 veteran groups within the county. The Forum has been credited with Saving the Roseburg VA Hospital. He has been a speaker at many community events, such as Veterans Day Parades, and Memorial Day ceremonies. He likes to identify himself as a veteran’s activist, and he and his wife Carmen are always present at any even involving veterans, or active duty military members. He is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Roseburg Post, in the past serving as Vice President; he is a member of the Fleet Reserve Association, American Legion, Navy Nuclear Weapons Association, and Military Officers of America Association. He is a member of the Veterans Day Parade Committee, and past Roseburg Air Show Committee also the Veterans Advisor Committee (VAC), and Douglas County Special Transportation Adviser Committee (STAC). He is a member of the Roseburg Elks. He is a member of the Wilbur, Oregon United Methodist Church, serving as a liturgist, message board author, and occasionally fills the pulpit during the pastor’s absence. He has vowed to never forget the 43 shipmates that did not return home with him, those who gave their life for the peace and freedom America enjoys. Memorial Day and Veterans Day have become very special holidays for him, a time of special remembrance. Each Friday at 12 noon he meets with other veterans at the intersection of Main Street, and entrance to the Roseburg VA Hospital, and for an hour waves the American flag at passing motorists, proclaiming Support For The Troops. He has vowed to do this until our military men and women return home. He has also vowed that America’s men and women in uniform will not be treated as poorly as many of the Vietnam Veterans of his generation, and be given a proper Welcome Home.
Meritorious Service Joint Service Commendation, Navy Commendation (2awards), Joint Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal, Sharpshooter Pistol Ribbon (expert), Three Awards of Navy "E" Ribbon 5, Navy Good Conduct Medals, Navy Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal w/ star 3 awards of Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Navy Overseas Service Ribbon, RVN Meritorious unit citation, RVN Campaign Medal
Theatre of Operation