The past is the present for future generations who do not know their history

James Hamilton Isbell…

was a dedicated local, national and international leader much honored and an Isbell relative.

He was in military intelligence.  He was  48 years, 1 month, 19 days old at the time of his death.

His Birdwell and Isbell lineage follows:

>Rev. Levi Isbell and Sarah Birdwell
>>Elijah Miller Isbell and Jane Dowdy
>>>Wm Joseph Isbell and Annora Florence Hall
>>>>James Dolphus Isbell Sr and Jessie Lucille Payne
>>>>>James Dolphus Isbell Jr  and Maggie Neal Cox
>>>>>>Tommy Eugene Isbell  b. 6 Oct 1944  and m1 Sherry Walker
>>>>>>>James Hamilton Isbell  b.Jan. 29, 1970 Huntsville, Alabama,
  married first: Lara                           Anne Bashore b. 22 Nov 1970  (artist, Huntsville); divorced; and married                               second to Jennifer, his widow.

Lt Cdr James HAmilton Isbell copy

January 29, 1970 – March 20, 2018 James H. Isbell passed away on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. He is preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, Carl T. and Carolyn Walker and Stepfather, Richard Dinges; paternal grandmother, Maggie Huser and Step grandfather, Frank Huser. Left to cherish his memory is his wife, Jennifer Isbell; 4 sons, Walker Isbell, Connor Laney, Elijah Isbell, and Ethan Isbell; mother, Sherry Dinges; father, Tommy Isbell; Stepmother, Patricia Isbell; sister, Tammy Bourque (Brian); 2 brothers, Michael Dinges (Victoria) and Brad Helton (Amy); and several nieces and nephews. Mr. Isbell served in the US Navy. James was a native of Huntsville and graduated from Huntsville High School in 1988. He graduated from Auburn University in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts in History and International Relations. He later earned a Doctor of Philosophy in U.S. Military and Diplomatic History from the University of Alabama in 2002. James served in the Alabama National Guard from 1993 to 1999 and was commissioned in the U.S. Naval Reserve in 2004 as a Naval Intelligence Officer, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Commander. James deployed twice, in 2007 and 2012, to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan. LCDR Isbell’s most recent military assignment was with the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Missile and Space Intelligence Center, where he was awarded a Defense Meritorious Service Medal In addition to his military service, Dr. Isbell spent over 20 years serving his country as a civilian professional, conducting political and military research and analysis in support of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Department of State, and Department of the Army. His civilian career culminated in becoming the USASMDC/ARSTRAT Political and Military Advisor in April 2014. Dr. Isbell was also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville since 1994, where he taught world history, strategy and policy, and military history. He was beloved by his students and fellow faculty. James was an ardent fan of Auburn football, a devoted and loving husband and father, and faithful friend. He enjoyed reading and spending time with loved ones at his family’s home on Smith Lake You may visit with the family at Valhalla Funeral Home on Saturday, March 24 from 12:00 to 2:00pm with services commencing at 2:00pm in Valhalla’s chapel. Interment will immediately follow in Rice Cemetery in Franklin County, TN.

Published in The Huntsville Times on Mar. 23, 2018

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The True Location of the RICE Cemetery is in Franklin County, Tennessee.  The confusion is because the cemetery is located about one mile inside the Tennessee State line and the people who are Buried there are mostly from Jackson County Alabama. It is located in a large wildlife refuge mostly in franklin CountyTenn. so it is several miles away from any place or homes in Tennessee.

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REDSTONE ARSENAL, AL, UNITED STATES

04.09.2018

Story by Jason Cutshaw 

U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command  

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama – A dedicated local, national and international leader was honored by his U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command team members during a memorial ceremony April 3.

Dr. James H. Isbell, who served as the USASMDC/ARSTRAT political and military affairs adviser since April 2014, passed away March 20.

“Everybody is here today because they admired, respected and in some cases loved James,” said Lt. Gen. James H. Dickinson, SMDC commanding general. “He made a very powerful impression to me. He was one of my most trusted advisers. Immediately, James established himself as a professional and as a person of trust. I can’t say enough good things about James,” he continued. “There isn’t anybody I know who could take complex issues that arise and figure out clear, practical solutions. When I think of James and what words may best describe him, they are: passionate, compassionate, devoted, loyal, exceptionally smart and a continual learner. He is a Soldier. He is a sailor. He is a gentleman, And I think everybody would agree in here, that he is a patriot.

“It is with great sadness, but fond memories, that we bid farewell to Dr. James Isbell,” Dickinson added. “May God bless you, James, and may God bless your wonderful family.”

Isbell was a native of Huntsville. Prior to joining SMDC, he spent 18 years conducting political and military research and analysis in support of the offices of the secretary of defense, the State Department and the department of the Army.

He served in the Army National Guard from 1993 to 1999 and earned his doctorate in 2002 from the University of Alabama.

In 2004, Isbell commissioned into the U.S. Navy Reserves as an intelligence officer, where he served until his passing. His Navy Reserve assignments include Navy Forces Central Command, the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Missile and Space Intelligence Center, and two tours in Afghanistan.

“All of the things he did dovetailed together and really made him a perfect selection to be the international and political and military affairs adviser for the Army Space and Missile Defense Command,” said Dr. John Fairlamb, former SMDC political and military adviser.

In the command, Isbell had the responsibility of ensuring missile treaty compliance for the Army and his duties included interacting with the Kwajalein Atoll and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, or RMI, leadership. Isbell worked to foster a positive relationship with the Marshallese government.

His recent efforts led to legislative protections regarding longstanding concerns in the RMI and the continuation of the Ri-Katak program at Kwajalein that allows Marshallese children to attend school with American children.

“Saying goodbye is very, very hard,” said James B. Johnson Jr., deputy to the SMDC commander. “One of the things about James that stands out to me is that he was the consumate professional. We could always count on James to provide sage advice, and he was passionate in his many endeavers as the command’s political and military affairs adviser.

“We spend a tremendous amount of time with our coworkers. In many respects our coworkers are like members of our family,” he continued. “We work together. We laugh together. We travel together; and we occassionally make each other mad, but the good times far outweigh the bad. With our coworkers we develop bonds and deep friendships, so losing our close friend is very hard.

“I would like thank Dr. Isbell for making a difference for our nation, for making a difference for this command, and he made a difference in my life,” Johnson added. “He will be greatly missed.”

During the ceremony, Dickinson presented Isbell’s family with the Department of the Army Meritorious Civilian Service Award for his service to the nation.

Also, the Republic of Marshall Island Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade John M. Silk presented Isbell with the Distinguished Foreign Service Award for advancing “the mutual defense and security relations and cooperation between the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the United States of America and has proved his worth as a representative of his country in areas important to the foreign, economic and political policies of both nations.” It added that at all times Isbell showed the calmness, clarity, dedication and judgment that are the characteristics of an outstanding political and military adviser, and a true friend of the Marshallese people.

Isbell is survived by his wife, Jennifer, and their four sons; Walker, Connor, Eli and Ethan.

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James Hamilton Isbell comes from a long line of distinguished patriots. His forefathers served in the Revolutionary War and all wars since. Ancestors from both sides took part in major historical matters, to include the Watauga Settlement.

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