James M. Link was born in Columbus, Ohio, on October 9, 1942, and commissioned through the Officer Candidate School in 1967. Following assignments as a Forward Support platoon leader and materiel officer in Company A, 782nd Maintenance Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division, Link served a tour in Vietnam as technical supply officer and then Commander, Company D, 173rd Support Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade. From 1979 to 1982, he was a staff officer in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics in the Pentagon. He commanded the 194th Maintenance Battalion at Camp Humphries, Korea, from 1982 to 1983; and served as Chief of the Ordnance Assignments Branch at the US Army Military Personnel Center from 1983 to 1985.
In 1989, he was selected to command the 16th Corps Support Group. During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, he deployed the Group from Hanau, Germany, to Saudi Arabia, where it was reinforced and grew to 6,500 soldiers. In Saudi Arabia, he also assumed command of Logistics Base Echo, which consisted of 250 units and 22,000 soldiers instrumental in supporting VII Corps' four heavy divisions and armored cavalry regiment during the ground war.
After relinquishing command in 1991, Link was assigned as Deputy Commanding General of the US Army Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal. He directed the command in complying with the International Nuclear Forces Treaty, to include the retrograde of Lance missiles from Europe and Korea.
In 1993, he was selected as Deputy Commander of the 21st Theater Army Area Command, the Army's largest logistics command, with 12,000 soldiers and civilians spread over five countries and an annual budget of over $650 million. In this position, he led the effort to retrograde materiel from Europe, built a brigade set of equipment loaded on pre-positioned ships, and directed the initial planning for peacekeeping missions to the Balkans.
From 1994 to 1997, Link served as Commanding General of the US Army Missile Command, supervising the research, development, acquisition, fielding, and logistical support of Army missile systems. The command included more than 7,400 soldiers and civilians with annual expenditures of over $5.5 billion.
In 1997, Link was selected as Chief of Staff and, in 1998, as Deputy Commanding General for the Army Materiel Command (AMC). Much to his credit, he led AMC's efforts to reorganize and directed the modernization of the Army's business processes under the Wholesale Logistics Modernization Program, the Single Stock Fund, and the National Maintenance Program. He also served as the Army's Executive Director for Conventional Ammunition and Test, Measurement, and Diagnostic Equipment and directed the merger of the Aviation and Troop Command with the Missile Command to create the US Army Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal.
LTG Link retired in 2000 after 33 years of distinguished service as an Ordnance officer and logistician.