COL James R. Yastrzemsky

COL James Yastrzemsky

SCPME Director


Colonel James Ross Yastrzemsky (“Yaz”) is a native of Baltimore, MD. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1997 as a NCAA Lacrosse Academic/Athletic All-American (Team Captain) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering.

COL Yastrzemsky has served in numerous command and leadership positions beginning with 1-3 Attack Helicopter Aviation Regiment at Hunter Army Airfield, GA. He initially deployed to Ft. Hood, Texas to conduct the Apache Longbow Unit Fielding and Training Program (UFTP). He also deployed with Task Force Viper to Kuwait in support of Operation Desert Spring shortly after the attacks of 9/11. In 2003, COL Yastrzemsky deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) serving as the Aviation Liaison Officer for the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division- the lead Division during the invasion and liberation of Iraq.            

While assigned at Fort Hood, Texas, COL Yastrzemsky commanded Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1-6 Cavalry leading his company through a second UFTP, transformation/reflagging to 4-4 Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, and a deployment to Iraq in support of OIF 05-07 during the height of the insurgency. Following deployment, COL Yastrzemsky returned to West Point to serve as the Aviation Branch Proponent and Trainer in the Department of Military Instruction. In 2010, he returned to Ft. Hood as the Operations Officer of 1-4 Attack Reconnaissance Battalion. As part of the Presidential surge forces back into Afghanistan, he deployed with Task Force Dragon to Kandahar in support of Operation Enduring Freedom X-XI. While attached to the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade as the Task Force Operations/Executive Officer, his unit provided direct support to Special Operations Forces operating throughout southern Afghanistan with distinction.

Following advanced civil schooling, COL Yastrzemsky commanded 6th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment at Ft. Campbell, KY leading the battalion through a rigorous period of Focused Readiness, hurricane relief efforts in Florida and Puerto Rico, and preparation for deployment to Afghanistan. After command, he served as the Deputy Director of the West Point Leadership Center and as Assistant Professor of Military Leadership within the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership. Upon graduation from the War College, COL Yastrzemsky commanded the U.S. Army Garrison Benelux, consisting of over 20,000 community members spanning across three countries and 4x Army Prepositioned Stock sites, providing base operations support to U.S. Army, Joint, and NATO forces throughout the COVID pandemic and in direct response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He currently serves as the Director of the Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethic at West Point.  

COL Yastrzemsky is a graduate of the: Initial Entry Rotary Wing Course and Aviation Officer Basic Course (Distinguished Honor Graduate); Aviation Captain’s Career Course (Honor Graduate); Combined Arms Services and Staff School; the Joint Firepower Controller Course; the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College; and the U.S. Army War College. He is rated in the AH-64A/D/E (Apache Longbow), UH-60M (Blackhawk), LUH-72A (Lakota), and OH-58A/C (Kiowa) aircraft, and a recipient of the honorable Order of St. Michael.

COL Yastrzemsky holds a PhD in Social Psychology/Military Sociology (University of Maryland, College Park), a Master of Arts degree in Public Administration (John Jay College of Criminal Justice), and a Master of Science degree in National Security and Strategic Studies (Army War College).

His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star (3), Air Medal (2), Army Meritorious Service Medal (3), Army Commendation Medal (4), Army Achievement Medal (3), the Army Presidential Unit Citation, the Army Valorous Unit Award, the Army Superior Unit Award, the Combat Action Badge, Master Aviator Badge, Parachutist Badge, and Air Assault Badge.

COL Yastrzemsky is married to his wife, Coren (New Jersey), and they have a daughter, Frankie Sue (7), and son, James Gunner (2).