My name is James Atkins and welcome to my website. It is a central touchdown point for my various media accounts. I also blog about things that interest me notably the military, Ice hockey, golf, football, firefighting, contracting, aviation and space technology. Finally, I will post some pictures of my adventures!
Raised in suburban Long Island, New York directly following graduation from high school, I entered the U.S. Marine Corps. After 4 years in the U.S. Marine Corps (and a quick call to duty during Operation Desert Shield/Storm) I attended Craven Community College and later the University of North Carolina at Wilmington while earning my pilots license. I started a Networking and Internet business in 1998 and was fairly successful at it though I clearly did not become a dotcom millionaire.
Deeply affected by the September 11th terrorist attacks, I was inspired to a call to public service and received my certifications in firefighting and was an EMT-Intermediate in my local community.
In 2004, I had the opportunity to go overseas to Iraq to try my hand at combat zone firefighting as a contract firefighter on bases in combat zones. In 6 years I had traveled to most major cities in Iraq, participated in the "from-scratch" construction of Fire Departments and eventually rose to the rank of Fire Chief. My time in Iraq was professionally rewarding and I proved to be successful in some of the most severe circumstances imaginable.
In 2010, as things wound down in Iraq, I returned home to accept the position of Fire Chief and Operations Manager of the Albert J. Ellis Airport in Jacksonville, North Carolina.
While successful and enjoying my position at OAJ, by 2012 I once again felt the call to go overseas. I left for Afghanistan becoming the Deputy, then Fire Chief of the Forward Operating Base Shank in Logar province. Known as "Rocket City" for it's nearly constant daily rocket attacks, Shank represented the pinnacle of my overseas experience as the most challenging and rewarding assignments I have ever had in a combat zone.
After 2 years in Afghanistan, with base closures underway and the withdrawal of US troops, the opportunity arose for a new "Rocket City" challenge and that was with the NASA Wallops Flight Facility where I am currently the Fire Chief.
Through out my many adventures I have met an amazing group of people and worked with some of the finest men and women in our country. While I continue my adventure in my noble profession, I am driven by the desire to continue to share my experience with others especially the younger generation of firefighters.