James A. Poland
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Virginia Beach -
Attention to orders: Effective at 1700 on 17 Feb. 2014, Col. James A. Poland, USMC (Ret.) is hereby relieved of his duties here on earth and told to report to his personal commander-in-chief, at Heaven's Gate, where he will join his fellow Marines for his next duty station.
Jim was born on 13 Sept. 1933, in Barberton, Ohio to Earnest and Hazel (Buskey).
After graduating high school, he attended Illinois Institute of Technology on a Naval Scholarship, graduating in June 1955 with a Bachelor of Science Degree. He was then commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the US Marine Corps.
Jim's various duties included command at the platoon, company, battalion, division and joint staff levels. He also served as a member of the Personnel Department at the Headquarters of the Marine Corps, Inspector-Instructor and Casualty Assistance Officer in Buffalo, NY, and as a faculty member of the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, VA. Jim also had a tour on the U.S.S. Los Angeles and, as an advisor to the South Vietnamese Marines (aka Covan). Jim served two tours in Vietnam, including combat operations in Quemoy-Matsu.
His last duty station was as commanding officer, Headquarters and Service Battalion, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific/Camp Commander, Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii.
Besides the Basic School, he attended Intelligence Officer as well as Intelligence Operations Specialist schools, Canadian Forces Command and Staff College in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and National Security Management.
When anyone asked what his favorite duty station was, his reply was always the same—"The one you left and the one you are going to." But Jim did find the duty in Buffalo probably to be the one to "test his faith." When you must inform a parent, a wife, of the death of a loved one, that takes an officer with a deeply religious conviction and Jim handled that assignment like the dedicated Marine officer that he was.
Jim was officially placed on the Marine Corps Officers Retired List on 1 July, 1985, after having completed 30 years, 5 months and 12 days of service. Among his personal decorations, he holds: The Legion of Merit with Combat V, Bronze Star with Combat V, Purple Heart, National Defense Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Service, Republic of Vietnam Service Medal with 3 Gold Stars, Cross of Galantry with Gold Star, Vietnam Honor Medal 1st Class, Vietnam Campaign.
He then became a Deputy Chief Probation and Parole Officer for the City of Norfolk for 17 years. He and wife enjoyed watching the grandchildren grow up and attending their various "sporting-events," plays, music concerts and visiting Disney World and Canada.
Jim is survived by his wife, "Butch; brother, David (Mary) of Doylestown, Ohio; brother-in-law, Gy. Sgt. USMC (Ret) Richard (Shirley) Orndoff, of Manassas, VA; and sister-in-law, Betty Kreighbaum of Barberton, Ohio. He is also survived by children, Dr. Greg (Jean) of Rochester, MN; Luanne (Tony) Durr, of Chesapeake, VA; Sgt. Maj. USMC (Ret) Bruce (Twila) of Swansboro, NC; Karen (Wayne) Sheeley of Chesapeake, VA; Kim (Terry) Rowles of Virginia Beach, VA; and Kevin (Sandy) of Virginia Beach, VA. He is also survived by 26 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
The viewing for Jim will be Thurs. 20 Feb., and Fri. 21 Feb., from 6-8 PM at the Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home, Lynnhaven Chapel. The funeral will take place at 11 AM on Sat. 22 Feb. at the Kings Grant Presbyterian Church. A reception will be held after the service in the fellowship hall. Jim attended the church for 29 years and served in various committees as well as being an usher. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675. Condolences may be offered to the family at www.hollomon-brown.com. To my favorite Marine- Semper Fi.
Hollomon-Brown Funeral Hms/Lynnhaven Ch & Crematory
3600 Virginia Beach Blvd Virginia Beach, VA 23452
Published in The Virginian Pilot on Feb. 20, 2014