United States Navy
The son of a Navy man, CDR James Thornton grew up in various different locations. Upon graduation from high school in northern Virginia, he attended the U.S. Naval Academy from 1991-1995 earning a B.A. in Political Science. His initial assignment was as an engineering officer aboard USS HALYBURTON (FFG-40) where he qualified as Engineering Officer of the Watch and was designated a Surface Warfare Officer during deployments to EUCOM and CENTCOM. In 1998 he reported aboard Special Boat Unit TWENTY (SBU-20) where he served as Officer-in-Charge of a 11 Meter Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) Detachment assigned to a special warfare platoon on EUCOM deployment. In 2000 he reported to Commander, Test and Evaluation Force (COMOPTEVFOR) for duties as a Chemical, Biological Defense Operational Test Director. In 2001, CDR Thornton was selected to attend flight school in Pensacola, Florida. Upon designation as a Naval Aviator in 2002, he entered and completed the P-3C training pipeline and reported aboard VP-26 in Brunswick, Maine. Following EUCOM/CENTCOM/SOUTHCOM deployments during his junior officer tour at VP-26, he completed a VP department head tour at VP-8, also in Brunswick, ME, deploying to CENTCOM and PACOM. In 2009, CDR Thornton reported to NAVCENT/5th Fleet for duties as an operational planner, and in 2010 he assumed the N3 position aboard Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. CDR Thornton is currently the Executive Officer aboard Marine Corp Air Station Kaneohe Bay, HI.