Born in 1945 in Augusta, Georgia, James Boddie was commissioned an Ordnance officer through ROTC in 1968 and detailed to the Infantry for two years. He served as an Infantry Platoon Leader at Fort Benning, Georgia; an Advisor in the Military Assistance Command Vietnam; and then Aide-de-camp to the Assistant Division Commander of the 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam.
He returned to the States and to the Ordnance Corps in 1970, activating the 255th Ordnance Detachment at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, and deploying it to Germany as the 255th Ordnance Company. In 1971, Boddie took command of the 575th Ordnance Company in Germany, beginning a long association with the company's parent unit, the 59th Ordnance Brigade. He was the Materiel Officer, 197th Ordnance Battalion, 59th Ordnance Brigade, from 1972 to 1973; then the Materiel Officer, and later Executive Officer, of the 3rd Ordnance Battalion; Brigade Assistant Chief of Staff, Materiel; and finally Commander, 3rd Ordnance Battalion, during the period 1979 to 1986. While commanding the 3rd Ordnance Battalion, the largest battalion in United States Army Europe (USAREUR), he accepted delivery of the Pershing II Missile and assumed responsibility for USAREUR's chemical weapons storage sites.
Boddie also held a series of important assignments in various Army Materiel Command agencies. From 1974 to 1975, he was Missile and Munitions Officer, US Army Missile Command, at Huntsville, Alabama. From 1975 to 1977 he served back-to-back tours as Aide-de-camp to the Commanding General, US Army Armament Command; and the Commanding General, US Army Armament, Research, Development, and Engineering Command (ARDEC). Then, from 1977 to 1978, he served as Research and Development Coordinator at ARDEC.
From 1987 to 1989, Boddie commanded the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in Oklahoma. From McAlester, he moved first to Rock Island, Illinois, as Weapons Systems Management Director, US Army Armament, Munitions, and Chemical Command (AMCCOM), and then to Redstone Arsenal where he assumed command of the US Army Ordnance Missile and Munitions Center and School from 1989 to 1992. At Redstone, he integrated Active Army and Reserve Component training and transitioned noncommissioned officers and warrant officers with nuclear weapons specialties into other fields.
In 1992, Boddie returned to Rock Island as Deputy Commanding General for Procurement and Readiness at AMCCOM. In this position, he played a key role in dispatching Ammunition Support Teams and managing the air and sea shipment of ammunition to Somalia for Operation Restore Hope. He also assumed responsibility as the Single Manager for Conventional Ammunition for the Department of Defense, and significantly improved the processing and oversight of third-party contracts at government-owned, contractor-operated ammunition plants.
Boddie culminated his military career as Commander, ARDEC and Picatinny Arsenal, Dover, New Jersey. As a result of his efforts to streamline the workforce and reduce costs while improving efficiency, Picatinny Arsenal received the Research and Development Organization of the Year Award in 1995 and both the Community of Excellence Award and the Presidential Award for Quality in 1996.
BG Boddie retired in 1997 after 30 years of distinguished service to the Army and the Ordnance Corps.