The Silver Star
James L. Schimming was born on 30 July 1938, in Peach Orchard, Arkansas. He received a B.S. in agriculture from Arkansas State in 1959 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant of Infantry through ROTC. After entering the U.S. Army in May 1960, his military experience would entail service as a platoon leader and company commander, including command of an Infantry company during combat in Vietnam, and staff officer positions at various levels of responsibility. Lieutenant Colonel Schimming's overseas assignments included a tour in Germany during construction of the Berlin Wall, the Panama Canal Zone, and two combat tours in Vietnam. Stateside assignments included Fort Benning, Georgia, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, the Presidio of San Francisco, California, Fort Sheridan, Illinois, and Fort Meade, Maryland. At the University of Chattanooga, Tennessee, he served as an assistant professor of Military Science. Jim Schimming retired from the U.S. Army in 1981 and began a new career in commercial property management in the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore, Maryland area. He retired again in 1993 from his position as a group manager and vice president for the Rouse Company, a large real estate developer with· properties nationwide. A few of his numerous awards and honors include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Air Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, and Combat Infantryman Badge.
On 1 April 1967, Captain Schimming was serving as an S-4, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Division, during Operation Junction City, when his unit became engaged in one of the most decisive battles of the Vietnam conflict. Occupying a defensive position in War Zone C, Captain Schimming was instrumental in halting and repelling the attack of a numerically superior Viet Cong force. After firing over 300 mortar rounds into friendly defenses, the Viet Cong 271'1 Regiment launched a massive ground attack at Company C's sector of the battalion perimeter. Insurgents infiltrated the line, overrunning many friendly force positions. Company C fought with determination against the enemy as they swarmed through the perimeter's breach. Without regard for his personal safety, Captain Schimming braved intense small arms, automatic weapons and mortar fire, charging into the kill zone to halt the Viet Cong before they could reach the battalion's command post. His aggressive assault rallied the men of his unit and initiated a counterattack. Schimming devastated the enemy with hand grenades, engaging and killing several in hand-to-hand combat. The momentum he generated drove the enemy from the perimeter into friendly air strikes and artillery concentrations, blocking the Viet Cong escape routes. Captain Schimming's crucial and valorous action in close combat is in keeping with the finest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, the 1" Infantry Division, and the U.S. Army.