James Toombs began his journey in Naval service as a reserve officer cadet while studying at the University of Southern Mississippi. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and entered active duty as a public affairs officer. Toombs’ assignments took him to stateside bases at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida and Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois.
He is a veteran of the Vietnam War having been deployed to Saigon in 1971. While assigned at Naval Air Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico he earned his private pilot certification at the local aeroclub, which began his passion for flying. Toombs left active duty in 1977 to pursue a career in aviation, a path he says he chose to honor his uncle Fred Austin, who perished in the Pacific as an air crewman during World War II.
Toombs remained an active Navy reservist assigned in Birmingham, Alabama. He accepted a job with the Federal Aviation Administration in 1982 as an aviation safety inspector and after a series of promotions he became the Safety Program Manager for the southern region of the United States. At the time he lived in Peachtree, Georgia. While there, he fed his love of flying and purchased a 1953 Cessna 170B, which he extensively refurbished.
Toombs and his wife Carol of 50 years, moved to Palm Coast in 2009, and he accepted a position teaching management skill to new FAA supervisors at the Center for Management Excellence and Leadership. Nowadays he is fully retired and enjoys international travel with Carol, riding his tricycle and taking naps!