Col. James E. Saenz
US Army Garrison Bavaria Commander
Col. James E. Saenz came to the U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria community from Fort Bragg, N.C., where he served as the director of the Commander’s Strategic Initiatives Group for U.S. Army Special Operations. Prior to that, he was the senior Special Operations representative at the Department of State in Washington, D.C.
In 2010, he earned a Master of Science degree in National Resource Strategy and graduated from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. Before attending school, he worked as a special assistant to the Chief of Staff of the Army.
In 2006, he took command of Detachment Two, Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Hanoi, Vietnam, where he spent two years leading U.S. efforts to account for those still missing from the Vietnam Conflict. From 2001 to 2006, he served in a variety of Special Operations positions, from group executive officer to company commander, at Fort Bragg, N.C.
In 2000, he attended the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and earned a Master of Military Art and Science degree in Strategy. Before going to CGSC, he was stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala, where he worked as the U.S. Military Group’s Operations Officer.
Prior to that, he was in the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, N.C., where he commanded SFOD-A 776. Before serving in a variety of staff positions at the U.S. Army Special Operations Command and the U.S. Army Special Forces Command (Airborne), his first assignment in Special Forces was in 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, N.C., where he commanded SFOD-A 721.
From 1989 to 1991, he served as a company executive officer, battalion training officer, and platoon leader as part of the 7th Engineer Brigade in Heilbronn and Stuttgart, Germany. Col. Saenz graduated from the United States Military Academy (West Point) in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science.
Col. Saenz’s operational experience includes Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm; numerous counternarcotics missions in South and Central America; several disaster relief efforts in Central America; Operation Enduring Freedom; and multiple GWOT activities at home and abroad.
Col. Saenz is a graduate of the Engineer Officer Basic Course, the Infantry Officer Advanced Course, the Special Forces Detachment Officer Qualification Course (distinguished honor graduate), the U.S. Army Ranger Course (distinguished honor graduate), the Command and General Staff Officers Course, the Joint and Combined Warfighting School, the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and Senior Executive Programs at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, as well as the Kansas University School of Business.
His qualifications include Special Forces, Ranger, Master Parachutist, Air Assault, Expert Infantryman, SERE (level C), Strategist and Joint Officer. He has also been awarded parachutist badges from El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras and Romania.
Col. Saenz holds two master’s degrees, speaks Spanish, and is an accomplished martial artist. He is married and has two sons.