Major James D. Whitlow attended North Carolina State University and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Construction Engineering and Management. Following graduation he attended Officer Candidate School (OCS) and was commissioned an officer in the United States Marine Corps in December of 2005.
Directly after OCS, Major Whitlow attended The Basic School in June of 2006 and following that he attended Naval Aviation Flight Training in Pensacola, FL. In October 2008 Major Whitlow was winged as a Naval Aviator and later that month he reported to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron 204 aboard MCAS New River, NC for initial flight training in the MV-22B Osprey.
Major Whitlow’s first operational assignment was to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261 (VMM-261) in March of 2009. While with the Raging Bulls he completed two Deployments; first to Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan in 2009, followed by the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard the USS IWO JIMA in 2012. Billets held while with VMM-261 included Schedule Writer, Current Operations Officer, Flight Equipment/Ordnance Officer, Airframes Officer and Quality Assurance Officer.
In June 2013 Major Whitlow was reassigned to Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 22 (VMX-22). While with VMX-22 he attended Aviation Safety Officer School in Pensacola, FL and served as the Aviation Safety Officer and NATOPS Officer. Additional duties while with the Argonauts included Operational Test Director, which helped to further expand the operational capabilities of the MV-22B.
Following his tour with VMX-22, Major Whitlow reported to Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1) in June 2014. During his time with the Presidential Helicopter Squadron he served as a Schedule Writer, Operations Duty Officer and White House Liaison Officer. Major Whitlow’s duties as a White House Liaison Officer included the facilitation and planning of various travel requirements for the President of the United States, the Vice President, as well as various Heads of State and visiting foreign officials as directed by the Marine Corps and the White House Military Office. Specifically, during his tour with HMX-1 Major Whitlow planned and executed over 30 missions worldwide in direct support of the President of the United States.
In August of 2017 Major Whitlow received orders to join the “Evil Eyes” of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 163 (VMM-163) and initially served as the Director of Safety and Standardization. In December of 2017 Major Whitlow was reassigned to serve as the Operations Officer and held the billet from December 2017 – July 2018. In July of 2018 Major Whitlow was again reassigned to serve as Aircraft Maintenance Officer during a critical time as the squadron was making preparations for change of operational control to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit. In May 2019 Major Whitlow deployed with the “Evil Eyes” as the Aircraft Maintenance Officer of VMM-163(REIN) in support of WESTPAC 19-2. In total, Major Whitlow Served as the Aircraft Maintenance Officer from July 2018 – January 2020.
Major Whitlow is currently serving as the Executive Officer of VMM-163. His personal decorations include the Strike/Flight Air Medal with numeral “3”, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.