Marvin James spent 30 years in the Air Force as an enlisted mechanic before retiring as a Chief Master Sergeant.

His life of service took him to six states and three countries -- including a year in Vietnam during the war.

The friends he lost there are still on his mind.

“Y get really close with them because you see them every day, you work with them, and then you hang out with them because there's nowhere you can go. You're kind of contained, you know so you think about that all the time,” James said.

But he says his time in the USAF gave him and his new family the opportunity to travel the world.

He married his wife while enlisted and they had their three children while stationed at different bases.

One of his favorite memories was taking WMAZ’s own Marvin James II on a trip while they were stationed in Germany.

“I got a chance to take Marvin back to England where he was born, just he and I we were just hanging out with some military folks,” said James.

Robins Air Force Base was the last stop on their journey and when he left the Air Force in 1998, he switched to running Northside High School's Junior ROTC program.

He retired this year after nearly two decades at the school.

It was a lifetime filled with service to his country and it’s a lifetime he's thankful for.

“The military is a great way of life. I don't try to recruit, but I know it's an honorable profession and I wouldn't trade what I've done for anything,” said James.