James Earl Arnold was born in North Troy, Vermont, on May 5, 1895, and is a graduate of Worchester Polytechnic Institute, Worchester, Massachusetts, where he received the degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1917. While attending the Institute he was a member of the Varsity Football team three years, the track team two years, and was president of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity they year 1916. He accepted an appointment as Ensign in the US Naval Reserve Force on May 18, 1918, and in the following September he transferred to the United States Navy in that rank. Subsequently he was promoted to Lieutenant, both grades before resigning from the Navy in November, 1926. Thereafter he had temporary active duty in the Naval Reserve periodically, and was advanced in rank to Lieutenant Commander. He was recalled to active duty in 1940, was promoted to the rank of Commander. He was recalled to active duty in 1940, was promoted to the rank of Commodore for temporary service, from November 2, 1945. Upon being transferred to the Retired List on April 1, 1951, he was promoted to Rear Admiral on the basis of combat awards.
During the first World War, he reported to the US Naval Academy for instruction. After further instruction in the Third Naval District, at the Submarine School, New London, Connecticut, he joined USS Fulton, training ship. He continued in the submarine service until, 1924. From November, 1924 until June, 1926 he served as Executive Officer of USS Edsall, Operating with Squadron 9, Destroyer Squadrons, Scouting Fleet.
In private life he was connected with the firm of Leland-Gifford Company, Worchester, Massachusetts, as Sales Engineer for the Boston District. In 1933034 he served also as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He volunteered to return to active duty in September, 1940, and was so ordered the next month.
He reported to Bethlehem Steel Company yard, Quincy, Massachusetts for duty as Administrative Officer to the Supervisor of Shipbuilding. He was responsible for the handling of problems involving shipbuilding, organization, procurement, and management of personnel, plant safety and security. He also served, until March, 1943, as head of the trial board to conduct official trials of all small craft constructed at that plant. The year March 1943-1944 he served as Commanding Officer, Advanced Amphibious Base, Falmouth, Cornwall, England. He was awarded the Legion of Merit with combat distinguishing device, V, and cited in part as follows:
“For exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of out of outstanding services… as Commanding Officer of the U.S. Naval Advanced Amphibious Case, Falmouth, Cornwall, England; later, as Commanding Officer of United States Naval Advanced Base TWELVE; and subsequently, as Commanding Officer of U.S. Naval Advanced Base, LeHarve, France, during operations against enemy forces from September 30, 1943, to February 28, 1945…. Planning and training the Utah Beach organization at Dartmouth, he landed with his unit on the beach at Normandy on D-Day… e set up his command despite continuel hostile shellfire, established an effective unloading system operated the ferry service and, for a continuous period of three months, maintained a constant flow of me, vehicles and supplies to “-the American forces in the field. Ordered to Le Harve to establish a port under extremely unfavorable conditions of harbor obstruction and port devastation, he was instrumental in successfully opening the port which was later operated effectively as a major debarkation point for troops, equipment and supplies for the support of our forces in Europe…”
Returning to the United States in May, 1945, he was assigned to general court martial duties, First Naval District, in Boston. He later served as President of the General Court Martial of that District. On April 22, 1947 he was ordered to the Navy Department for temporary duty in Office of the Assistant Chief of Naval Operations, and the following July 1 he reported to the Commandant, Ninth Naval District, Great Lakes, Illinois, for duty as Assistant Chief of Staff (Logistics), and special assistant for maintenance of Naval Reserve training ships. In 1948 he also had temporary additional duty as District Ordance Officer, and as a committee member on facilities and service. He was so serving when relived of active duty pending his retirement on April 1, 1951.
In addition to the Legion of Merit with Combat V, Rear Admiral Arnold has the World War I Victory Medal; the Navy Expeditionary Medal Service Medal; the Yangtze Service Medal (USS Edsall-1926); the American Defense Service Medal; American Campaign Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with two engagement stars; World War II Victory Medal; and the Naval Reserve Medal with star for twenty years of service. He also was awarded the Croix de Guerre with bronze star by the Government of France, “for outstanding services…in the liberation of France.”
He is a member of the Wildwood Country Club; Army-Navy Club, Washington, DC; American Legion; Veterans of Foreign Wars; and the AF&AM.