Proud Western Illinois University alumnus U.S. Army Capt. James Nardelli characterizes himself as proud former student who displays his University pride through carrying a Western banner with him through a variety of military deployments.
Besides spending two tours in Afghanistan, he has been stationed in Fort Benning, GA, Fort Campbell, KY and Fort Huachucah, AZ.
“I have brought this banner to both of my deployments; the first in Kahdahar Province, Afghanistan, and the second in Nangarhar Province,” he said.
Before his initial deployment, Nardelli was commissioned into the U.S. Army through the WIU ROTC program. He said he continues contact with fellow classmates and with his fraternity brothers from Sigma Pi.
“WIU taught me some invaluable skills that have been tremendously helpful throughout my career thus far. In addition, the leadership skills I honed while attending WIU made me who I am today,” Nardelli said. “WIU has some of the best leaders from which to learn and mirror. From ROTC, to my fraternity and the professors, it was an experience that I believe has made me so successful.”
Nardelli, a 2008 Western graduate with a management degree, came to WIU from Libertyville High School in 2004. After graduation, he was commissioned in the U.S. Army Infantry Corps as a second lieutenant and stayed on at WIU as a Gold Bar Recruiter until December 2008, to work with prospective ROTC candidates.
Between his deployments and serving at various U.S. locations, Nardelli was promoted to captain in 2011.
During his last deployment to Afghanistan, Nardelli said he served as Company Executive Officer. He was part of a Security Force Advise and Assist Team for an Afghan National Army Light Infantry Kandak (Battalion).
“I was in charge of running our own Coalition Force Team and advising four Afghan National Army Majors,” he said. “Our goal was to teach, coach and mentor the kandak (battalion) to be able to conduct independent combat operations without CF support, which is part of the overall drawdown plan of Afghanistan.”
Nardelli is now assigned to Fort Huachucah, AZ, where he is becoming a military intelligence officer and will attend the Military Intelligence Captains Career Course. His military awards include the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Medal, NATO ISAF Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Air Assault Badge and the Parachutist Badge.