General James F. Amos graduated from the University of Idaho in 1965. Early on, Amos knew he wanted to be Marine pilot, and in 1970 he was commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Corps. Earning his wings in 1971, he was posted to an F-4 Phantom II squadron based at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. During the ensuing years between First Lieutenant and Lieutenant Colonel, General Amos completed tours in two other fighter squadrons, the Naval Air Training Command as a flight instructor, resident professional schools, and various other staff assignments. In 1985, Amos assumed command of Marine Air Base Squadron 24, later redesignated as Marine Wing Support Squadron 173. In 1990, he transitioned to the F/A-18 Hornet and assumed command of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 312. Shortly after taking command, VMFA-312 was assigned to Carrier Air Wing 8, onboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt. During this assignment, the "Checkerboards" of VMFA-312 were awarded the coveted Fighter Squadron of the Year Award by the Marine Corps Aviation Association. In May 1996, Amos assumed command of Marine Aircraft Group 31 in Beaufort, South Carolina. Flying out of Aviano, Italy, General Amos participated in combat operations with his squadrons over Bosnia-Herzegovina in support of United Nations resolutions. Promoted in 1998 to Brigadier General, he was "dual-hatted" as the Deputy Commander, Naval Striking Forces, Southern Europe, and as the U.S. Deputy Commander, Fleet Marine Forces Europe, based in Naples, Italy. During this time, he commanded NATO's Kosovo Verification Coordination Center, in Skopje, Macedonia, a precursor effort to the impending air and ground operations inside Kosovo and Serbia. Once international negotiations failed, General Amos was reassigned as the Chief of Staff, Joint Task Force Noble Anvil, for the air campaign over Kosovo. Transferring to the Pentagon in 2000, he served for 18 months as the Assistant Deputy Commandant for Aviation before being reassigned as the Assistant Deputy Commandant for Plans, Policy and Operations, Headquarters Marine Corps. In August 2002, General Amos assumed command of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California. The unit deployed to Kuwait three months later in preparation for combat operations in Iraq in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. Crossing the border into Iraq in March 2003, he commanded a 15,000 Marine, 430 aircraft, force during the march to Baghdad and beyond. General Amos returned to Iraq with a large portion of the 3rd Wing in February 2004, as the Marines settled into the Al Anbar Province. Leaving Iraq in June 2004, Amos was promoted to Lieutenant General and assumed command of the 50,000 Marines of the II Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. While in command, he trained and deployed over 25,000 Marines to Iraq for combat operations in such places as Fallujah and Ramadi. In August 2006, General Amos was reassigned to serve as the Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command at Quantico, VA. Amos was promoted to General and became the 31st Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps in July 2008. General Amos continues to serve with over 39 years of service and over 4,400 flying hours. He and his wife of 39 years, Bonnie, live in Washington, D.C.
General Amos has commanded seven times at various levels during his 39 year career, from a Hornet squadron on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, to 50,000 Marines of the II Marine Expeditionary Force. Most notably, he commanded a 15,000 Marine, 430 aircraft, force during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM I and II in 2003 and 2004.