James Vincent Bartlett was born in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, on October 28, 1917, son of Ira S. and Blanche (Mitchell) Bartlett, both now deceased. He attended Charleston (West Virginia) High School and Randles Preparatory School, Washington, DC, prior to entering the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, on appointment from his native state in 1937. Graduated with “distinction” on February 7, 1941, he was honorably discharged on June 7, that year for physical disability. On June 30, 1942 he was commissioned Ensign in the US Naval Reserve and subsequently advanced in rank to that of Rear Admiral, Civil Engineer Corps, to date from August 1, 1968, having transferred from the Naval Reserve to the Civil Engineer Corps of the US Navy on November 15, 1947.
Following graduation from the Naval Academy in 1941, he remained there as an Instructor until June of that year, when he transferred to the Naval Training School, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, for similar duty. Reporting in May 1943 for postgraduate instruction in civil engineering at Rensaaelaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, he received the degrees of Bachelor of Civil Engineering in October 1944 and Master of Civil Engineering in June 1945. He had further training at the Naval Construction Battalion Training Center, Davisville, Rhode Island, during the period August to October 1945, after which he served as Executive Officer at the Advanced Base Construction Depot, Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii. In June 1946 he became Public Works Officer at the Naval Supply Center, Pearl Harbor.
Returning to the United States in October 1948, he served as Public Works Officer and Resident Officer in Charge of Construction at the US Naval Hospital, Beaufort, South Carolina, until January 1951, when he reported as Assistant Head of the Civil Engineer Corps Plans Section, Bureau of Naval Personnel, Navy Department, Washington, DC. He remained there until April 1952, when he transferred to the Bureau of Yards and Docks, Navy Department, where he served as Manager of the Hospital and Personnel Structures Branch and Executive Assistant to the Assistant Chief of the Bureau for Administrative Management. In September 1953 he assumed command of Mobile Construction Battalion 4 and in July 1955 was detached for duty as Public Works Officer and Resident Officer in Charge of Construction at the Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, Virginia.
From July 1958 to September 1961 he was Program Manager on the Staff of the Director of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, Navy Department, after which he served as Deputy District Public Works Officer and Deputy District Civil Engineer in the Fourteenth Naval District, with headquarters in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. In May 1963 he reported as Chief of Staff to Commander Naval Construction Battalions, Pacific and in February 1964 again returned to the Bureau of Yards and Docks, where he was Assistant Chief of the Bureau for Military Readiness. He remained there until October 1965, then became Director of the Chesapeake Division, Bureau of Yards and Docks, Washington, DC. In May 1966 his title was changed to Commanding Officer of the Chesapeake Division, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Washington, DC.
In August he assumed command of the THIRD Naval Construction Brigade, with headquarters in Danang, Vietnam and “for exceptionally meritorious conduct…from September 1, 1967 to March 5, 1969…in connection with operations against enemy aggressor forces in the Republic of Vietnam…” he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. The citation continues in part: “…As a result of his brilliant leadership, professional skill, and able administration of the United States Naval Construction Forces in the Republic of Vietnam, combat units were able to effectively carry out their assigned missions designed to aid the Republic of Vietnam in its fight against communist aggression…” He is also entitled to the Ribbon for and facsimiles of the Meritorious Unit Commendation and the Navy Unit Commendation awarded the THIRD Naval Construction Brigade.
He reported in April 1969 as Deputy Commander for Planning of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Washington, DC, and in August of that year became Vice Commander of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command and Deputy Chief of Civil Engineers of the Navy. He was awarded the Legion of Merit “for exceptionally meritorious conduct…from August 1969 to October 1972…” The citation further states in part: “…Rear Admiral Bartlett applied exceptional leadership and engineering management in directing and coordinating the many functions of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command and in managing the orderly termination of the contract construction effort in Vietnam…” On October 1, 1972 he was transferred to the Retired List of the U.S. Navy.
In addition to the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon and the Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon, Rear Admiral Bartlett has the American Defense Service Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; National Defense Service Medal with bronze star; and the Vietnam Service Medal with bronze star. From the Republic of Vietnam he had been awarded the following: National Order FIFTH Class; Gallantry Cross with Palm; Choung My Medal FIRST Class; Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device and Armed Forces Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross).
He is a member of the Society of American Military Engineers, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Public Works Association, National Society of Professional Engineers, Chi Epsilon, Tau Beta Pi and Sigma Xi. His hobbies are photography, gardening, woodworking and amateur radio.