Courtesy of his clasmates, United States Military Academy Class of 1961
James Edward Schall, Jr.
8/27/36 – 2/4/99
James Edward Schall, Jr., was born in Nashville, Tennessee, the second of nine children. When Jim was young, his family moved from Tennessee to Buffalo, New York. When Jim was 16, the family moved to Aiken, South Carolina. Jim graduated from St. Angela’s Academy in Aiken, and after attending Clemson University for one year, he received a congressional appointment to West Point and joined the Class of 1961.
Jim met his future bride, Judy, in 1960, and the two married in July 1961. After attending the Field Artillery Basic Course at Fort Sill, the Defense Missile Course at Ft. Bliss, and Airborne School at Fort Benning, Jim was assigned to the 2d Battalion of the 82d Artillery, a Corporal Missile Battalion in Kitzingen, Germany. While there, he was the battalion S-2, an extremely sensitive job, considering “nucs” were stored right around the corner. Jim handled that position with utmost professionalism and deliberation but always was ready for a laugh when it was time to “turn off” the serious stuff. He coordinated the arrival of the Honest John Rocket Battalion, replacing the Corporal Battalion. During that time, his first two children were born, son James III in September 1962 and daughter Sandra in September 1963.
Orders in December 1964 brought Jim and his family back to Ft. Sill, where his third child, David, was born in March 1965. Jim attended the Field Artillery Career Course, followed by the Guided Missiles Systems Officer Course at Ft. Bliss. While at Ft. Bliss, orders came for Viet Nam.
Before leaving, Jim attended the Defense Language Institute at Ft. Ord, and the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center at Ft. Bragg. He was an advisor with MACV in Go Cong, Viet Nam, from January 1966 to January 1967. During that year, the family lived in Aiken, South Carolina, where, one day, Judy received a letter from USMA stating a captain discovered Jim’s West Point class ring on the finger of a Vietnamese in a Saigon bar. He bought it back for the equivalent of $20, and returned it to the Academy. Judy had it returned to her, and several weeks passed before Jim even knew she had it.
Upon Jim’s return from Viet Nam, the family moved to Ft. Hood, where Jim was Executive Officer of the 3rd Battalion, 2d Artillery, an Honest John Rocket Battalion. Orders came again for an unaccompanied tour to Korea. Jim was assigned to the 2d Battalion, 76th Artillery, at Camp St. Barbara, as a special weapons officer of I Corps Artillery. After Korea, it was back to Germany, this time to Neu Ulm, where Jim was a battery commander in the 1st Battalion, 81st Artillery. There, he distinguished himself by having the first Operational Pershing Unit to be evaluated with zero faults during firing. Under his command, that feat was replicated many times, setting a new standard of excellence for deployed Pershing missile units during the Cold War. That enviable record earned him an assignment to the U.S. Army Europe Pershing Operational Test Unit (POTU) in Heidelberg.
Jim transferred on a request to HQ USAREUR, to serve as an analysis officer of the POTU. In 1974, orders brought Jim and his family to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, with the Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity. While at Aberdeen, Jim earned two graduate degrees from Central Michigan University, where he was a Phi Beta Kappa.
He later accepted a civilian engineer position at the Ballistics Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground. He was a member of the Vulnerability/Lethality Division, the Army’s lead agency for the assessment of conventional ballistic vulnerability and lethality. His academic training at West Point, coupled with his military background and extensive combat experience, were extremely valuable in that role. In addition to having many articles published, his work had a significant impact in the area of experimental testing and ballistic range design and development. He managed the vulnerability exploitation testing of numerous classified foreign targets. He was instrumental in the establishment of a ballistic test facility in the mid 980s where anti-tank weapons — such as the M829A1 (Silver Bullet of Desert Storm), 120mm, depleted uranium, long rod penetrator — could be fired and evaluated at realistic combat ranges. That information was vital during the Gulf War, when the BRL provided the VII Corps field commanders with lethality projections for our weapons against specific enemy targets.
Also during that time, Jim spent one year at the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Research & Advanced Technology, Engineering Technology at the Pentagon. His distinguished career as a military officer and engineer/scientist serves as an excellent example. Jim retired from Civil Service in January 1991. During retirement, he enjoyed golfing, playing bridge, and traveling. He was very witty and very generous and extremely proud of his family. The love and understanding the Schall family shares is a model for families everywhere. Perhaps it was one of Jim’s greatest accomplishments.
Jim died tragically in a fire at his home in Abingdon, Maryland, in February 1999. He was alone at the time.
A mass of the resurrection was offered at the Fort Myer Chapel, followed by interment with full military honors on top of a hill at Arlington National Cemetery. His wife of 37 years, Judy; three children, Dr. Jim Schall III, David Schall, and Sandra Schall Ritterpusch; and six grandchildren, Mark, Emily, Jake, Kara, Jimmy IV, and Danny, survive him.
He gave much of himself to his country and to his family. He was a wonderful best friend, husband, father, and “Pop” and was truly loved and is greatly missed.
“And when our work is done, our course on earth is run, may it be said, ‘Well done. Be thou at peace.’”
Wife Judy and family, Terry McCarthy ’62, John Wolfe, Bill Bird, and John Jacobson.
James Edward Schall, Jr
Viet Nam – 1966
James Edward Schall IV
Maryland – 2001
SCHALL, JAMES EDWARD JR
MAJ US ARMY
- DATE OF BIRTH: 08/27/1936
- DATE OF DEATH: 02/04/1999
- BURIED AT: SECTION 13 SITE 634
- ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard