James Archer of Salem has retired from the U.S. Army Reserve — at the rank of Major General. Folks in Salem may know him locally as executive Vice-President of Sales and Marketing for Blue Ridge Beverage Company, Inc.
Here’s the official release from the Army — followed by Archer’s bio:
SALEM, VA., RESIDENT ENDS 36-YEAR MILITARY CAREER
Two-Star General Leaves Mark on Transformed Army Reserve
FORT SILL, OKLA., Sept. 14, 2008— Army Maj. Gen. James E. Archer of Salem, Va., bid farewell to an institution he has served for the past 36 years. Archer retired from the U.S. Army Reserve, culminating his career as Commanding General of the 95th Division (Institutional Training), headquartered in Oklahoma City. Division Soldiers from subordinate units around the country convened for ceremonies at this Army post in southwest Oklahoma to wish their leader well. Ceremonies included a formal farewell dinner and a traditional “passing of the colors,” in which the Division flag is passed from the outgoing to the incoming commander. Archer returns to the relative leisure of civilian life, where he serves as executive vice president of his family’s wholesale beverage distribution company in Virginia.
Archer joined the Division as a one-star general in May 2001 and assumed command upon his promotion to two-star general in April 2004. Since then, Archer has led the Division through several major transformations, as the Army Reserve continues to streamline itself into a more relevant and ready force. As Archer departs, the Division is poised to assume a more focused training mission in the future, with a clear emphasis on initial entry training for new recruits.
Reflecting on his role in shaping the future of the Army Reserve, Archer observed, “’Boots on the ground’ will always be essential, and our Army will have the major role to play. Skills resident in the Army Reserve will have a disproportionate share of that role. The Citizen-Soldier increasingly has the background and perspective to participate on the world stage, while upholding the values of our institution.”
The 95th Division was originally organized in 1918 but did not see combat in World War I. The unit gained fame later in World War II, earning the moniker “Iron Men of Metz” for their hard-fought liberation of that critical fortress French city. The Division has seen many permutations in the decades since. As of Oct. 1, 2008, it will officially become a one-star command, designated the 95th Training Division (IET), with drill sergeant units in 15 states from Washington to Kentucky.
And now, here’s Archer’s bio:
MG James E. Archer was born in Johnson City,Tenn., on May 2, 1950. He was a Distinguished
Military Graduate, commissioned in the Regular Army in Armor branch through the Reserve Officer
Training Corps (ROTC), on Aug. 2, 1972. As a cadet, he was named the outstanding cadet in First
Army area at Advanced Camp in 1971 and was subsequently named one of two outstanding Armor
lieutenants entering active duty by the Armor Association.
MG Archer has served for over 36 years in the Active Component, National Guard, and Army
Reserve. He began his military career on active duty and initially served as an Armored Cavalry Platoon
Leader in B Troop, 3-7 Cavalry, 3rd Infantry Division, Federal Republic of Germany. He later
served as S-3 Air, S-1, and Squadron Maintenance Officer.
MG Archer joined the Pennsylvania Army National Guard (PAARNG) in 1979 as a member of the 1st Squadron, 104th Cavalry, 28th Infantry Division. He served as Troop Commander and was subsequently Aide-de-Camp to the Commanding General, 28th Infantry Division. He transferred to the 80th Division (Training), USAR, in 1984 where he served in the Training Group as Operations/Training Officer and Brigade S-1. In 1987, MG Archer became a Reserve Forces Officer (IMA) in the Selective Service System (Tennessee) and served as MEPS Liaison Officer, Area Office Manager, and Detachment Commander.
Rejoining the 80th Division (Training) in 1993, he served as Commander, 3rd Battalion, 319th
Infantry (OSUT), in the 2nd Brigade. Other key assignments included Assistant Deputy Chief of
Staff, Personnel; Commander, 7th Brigade (Training Support); Deputy Chief of Staff, Personnel; and
Chief of Staff. In May 2001, MG Archer became Assistant Division Commander-Operations, 95th
Division (Institutional Training). In April 2004,he became Commanding General, 95th Division
(Institutional Training), his current assignment.
MG Archer’s military education includes: AirborneSchool, Armor Officer Basic Course,
Motor Officer Course, Air/Ground Operations Course,Armor Officer Advanced Course, Command and
General Staff College, Battalion/Brigade Pre-Command Course, and the Army War College.
His decorations include the Legion of Merit,Meritorious Service Medal (with four oak leaf
clusters), Army Commendation Medal, MeritoriousService Award (Bronze Award) Selective Service
System, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Army Reserve Component Medal (with five oak leaf clusters), National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Army Service
Medal, Overseas Medal, and Parachute Badge.
He is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research. He also has an MBA degree from Emory University, which he earned while on an Army Fellowship. He is Executive Vice-President of Sales and Marketing for Blue Ridge Beverage Company, Inc., his family’s wholesale beverage distribution business in
MG Archer resides in Salem, Va., with his wife of 35 years, Nancy. They have one daughter,
Leigh Archer Brabrand, an attorney and housewife; son-in-law, Jonathan Brabrand; and granddaughters Lauren and Mallory. They also have a son, James Joseph Archer, a software engineer for General Dynamics, and his wife, Karen.