Colonel James B. Wellons grew up in Victoria, Virginia. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in May of 1992, earning his commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. After completion of The Basic School and Naval Flight Training, he reported to VMAT-203, Cherry Point, NC for AV-8B Harrier training.
Colonel Wellons completed AV-8B Harrier training in 1997 and reported to the VMA-231 “Ace of Spades,” where he served in various assignments and deployed twice with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, first in 1998 and again in 1999.
In March of 2000, Colonel Wellons returned to VMAT-203 for duties as an AV-8B instructor pilot and graduated from the MAWTS-1 Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) Course. In January of 2002, Colonel Wellons returned to VMA-231 as WTI and was promoted to Major. He then deployed as Future Operations Department Head for HMM-263 with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit from August of 2002 through May of 2003, during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM I. In July of 2003, Colonel Wellons reported to MAWTS-1 in Yuma, Arizona for duties as an AV-8B instructor pilot. While at MAWTS-1, Colonel Wellons served as AV-8B Division Head and TACAIR Department Head; he also flew as an adversary pilot in the F-5E with VMFT-401.
In June of 2006, Colonel Wellons reported to the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies (SAASS) at Maxwell Air Force Base, AL, graduating in June of 2007 with an M.A. in Airpower Art and Sciences. Upon graduation, Colonel Wellons reported to Marine Corps Forces Central Command (MARCENT) for duties as an operational planner. While at MARCENT he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.
In August of 2009, Colonel Wellons reported to Eglin Air Force Base, FL, where he stood up and commanded VMFAT-501, the F-35B Fleet Replacement Squadron. In February of 2012, Colonel Wellons relinquished command and reported to the U.S. Naval War College, in Newport, RI, where he graduated with highest distinction in March of 2013 with an M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies.
In March of 2013, Colonel Wellons reported to U.S. Southern Command in Doral, FL for assignment as Executive Officer to the Commander. He was promoted to Colonel during this tour.
In June of 2015, Colonel Wellons reported to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One, where he assumed command in May of 2016.
Colonel Wellons has held qualifications in the AV-8B, F-5E/F, and F-16C/D. His decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with gold star in lieu of third award, Air Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and various unit and campaign awards.