James enlisted in the Regular Army in 1996 and at that time was posted to Singleton Townsville. In 1999 he was posted to 4RAR (Commando) as a Company medic and was deployed to East Timor in 2001. In 2004 he left the Regular Army to join the New South Wales Ambulance Service but remained an active Reserve member with the 1st Commando Regiment.
In 2007 he was deployed to TAGE and Afghanistan SOTG rotation V111 in 2009. It was on his return home that he had trouble fitting back into home life. Loud noises and crowds made James feel very uncomfortable and he was quick to anger. James went from the life of the party to being a recluse and found the only time “I felt happy was when I was surfing”.
James’ wife put him in contact with a Soldier On representative, and it was during this meeting that Soldier On offered James and his family a surfing holiday with other service personnel affected by their service. It was the first time since his deployment that they had been on a family holiday. It was this holiday that was the catalyst for James to seek the help he needed to become well again. James continues to represent Soldier On in many ways at engagements.