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James K. Evetts, Jr. "Jim"

Company B-1

 12 Jan 1939 - 1 Sep 1982


Class Memorial Pages\B-1 Jim Evetts.pdf

Taps Tribute:

James K. Evetts, Jr.
Cullum No. 23417-1961 | September 8, 1982 | Died in WRAMC, Washington,DC
Interred in North Belton Cemetery, Belton, TX

James Kuykendall Evetts Jr. was born in Belton, TX on January 12, 1939. His father, a World War II veteran, had been wounded in the Battle of the Bulge and later served as an aide-de-camp to then Major General Walton Walker, father of Sam Walker, a 1946 graduate of West Point who was to become important in Jim’s life. Walton Walker, himself a 1912 West Point graduate, and his son Sam both achieved four-star rank. They were well acquainted with the Evetts family, a relationship which helped Jim immensely. Walton Walker, like Jim, was born in Belton. Sam was born at West Point.

Jim’s father, James K. Evetts Sr., became the Bell County Texas District Attorney and later was elected district judge. This gave Jim a lot of community exposure, so the heat was on for him to perform in every possible way. He rose to the occasion and became an Eagle Scout, a member of the National Honor Society, and was selected for Boys State, a summer leadership and citizenship program sponsored by the American Legion.

An outstanding football and basketball player, Jim was extremely popular at Belton High School. At nearly 6 foot 6 inches tall, Jim towered over most, but his winsome, good natured personality earned him the school yearbook’s title “Class Favorite.”

Jim carried those traits with him when he entered West Point on July 2, 1957.

Jim and his classmates had the good fortune of receiving their initial cadet training under the leadership of the Class of 1958. All positions, from squad leader on up, were held by the First Class. The significance of the First Class’ being in charge was palpable. They were arguably the most mature cadets as a group, destined to receive commissions the following summer and depart on active duty in the Regular Army, Air Force and, in some cases, the Marine Corps. The age differential alone made the relationship between new cadets and the senior class formal and lasting.

Among the many activities in which Jim and his classmates were involved, athletics became supremely important. Every cadet received the equivalent of Basic Combat Training during Beast Barracks, so each was in top physical condition by the start of the academic year. Every new cadet—“plebe” as they are called once summer training is complete—learned to box, wrestle, swim and practice gymnastics.

Jim tried out for the Academy’s basketball and swimming teams but eventually played intermural athletics.

All new cadets were given a detailed orientation on the importance of intercollegiate athletic programs as a part of developing a winning attitude. This was particularly true with the major sports: football, basketball, track and field and baseball.

In Jim’s sophomore year, West Point’s Football Team was undefeated. The atmosphere during the fall season was electric. The United States Corps of Cadets felt a sense of pride in their football team, seldom to be equaled ever. Army excelled in all sports, and Jim was an avid fan. Just to watch the Army team’s practice was thrilling to him and his classmates.

Jim was as exemplary student and military cadet. Then Major Sam Walker was one of Jim’s tactical officers, setting an example of military bearing and leadership. Walker was to become the West Point Commandant of Cadets as a brigadier general, at the time when Jim was a professor of military history at West Point.

Graduating 136th in a class of 534, Jim was commissioned a second lieutenant of Infantry. He completed Infantry branch training, airborne and Ranger training, then embarked upon his first overseas assignment, the First Cavalry Division in the Republic of South Korea, then regarded as the “Forefront of Freedom.” He may have walked the same ground as General Walton Walker, 8th Army Commander, did during the Korean War, and Major Sam Walker too, a battalion commander in that war.

Upon return to the United States, Jim was introduced to his future wife, Nancy Bagley, by one of his classmates, Cyrus Shearer. Nancy was from Cy’s hometown of LaGrange, GA. Jim and Nancy fell in love and were married in 1963. Their two children, Julie and Amy, blessed Jim and Nancy with grandchildren.

Jim served two tours in Vietnam: the first with 5th Special Forces and the second with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2-502 Infantry Regiment. Next, he secured a master’s degree in history from Duke University and joined the Military History Department at West Point, where he and the family spent three years.

After attending the Air Command and General Staff College, Jim was assigned to command the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Brigade at Fort Dix, NJ before joining the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel Department of the Army in Washington, DC, where he became the executive officer of the Commanding General MILPERCEN.

While in Washington, Jim became ill and passed away in 1982. His death was a shock to all, but the memory of his service to our nation and his dedication to his family and comrades-in-arms lives on.

Jim’s decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal for valor, three Bronze Stars Medals for meritorious service, six Air Medals, two Meritorious Service Medals, two Army Commendation Medals, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

Well Done, Jim; Rest in Peace.

— 1961 classmates and daughters: Julie and Amy