Rear Adm. James Bynum is a native of Waco, Texas, and was commissioned in 1985 via the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program at the University of Oklahoma and was designated a naval aviator in December 1986. A career F/A-18 pilot, he holds a Bachelor of Arts in Database Management and is a Georgetown University Capitol Hill Fellow. He is a graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College and the U.S. Air Force Air Command and Staff College. He also holds a subspecialty in Financial Management.
His other operational assignments include tours with Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 113, VFA-22 and a tour under the services Personnel Exchange Program where he flew with the U.S. Air Force’s 94th Fighter Squadron. He has served as battle director, Combined Air Operations Center, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. He also commanded VFA-27, as part of the forward deployed U.S. Naval Forces in Japan, and Carrier Air Wing 3.
Ashore, Bynum served as an instructor pilot, military legislative aide and Capitol Hill fellow on the staff of U.S. Sen. John S. McCain (R-AZ) and as senior readiness programmer/analyst for Navy issues, as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance programs while attached to the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He later served in the Aviation Warfare Section of the Navy’s Program Development Staff, as executive assistant to Commander, U.S. Naval Air Forces in San Diego, and as executive assistant to the vice chief of naval operations and served as the deputy director of the White House Military Office.
He is currently assigned as the director, Assessments Division (N81) on the OPNAV staff. His previous flag assignments include chief of Naval Air Training and commander, Carrier Strike Group 9, Theodore Roosevelt Strike Group, from June 2016 through June 2017.
Bynum has logged more than 4,500 hours in tactical aircraft and flown more than 90 combat missions with U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force units. His decorations include the Legion of Merit, Defense and Meritorious Service Medals, individual and strike flight Air Medals, Defense, Navy and Air Force Commendation Medals as well as other individual, campaign and unit awards.