JAMES THOMAS TRIMBLE
November 16, 1946 – December 17, 2019
Jim was born to Louis Walter Trimble (1918 – 2003) and Marie Ann Kennedy Trimble (1922 – 2003) in Pittsburgh, PA shortly after World War II ended in 1946. Father Lewis had served 4 years in the Army during the war and they married on July 9, of 1945 while he was still in the service. The freezing cold of Winter in PA did not diminish the joy of bringing their new son into the world yet the lure of Southern California sunshine soon drew the family west. Jim was to spend his youth, along with his younger siblings Mike and Suzie, in the San Diego area. As with all parents they dreamed of their child accomplishing great things and doing wonderful good. Now that Jim’s life is complete, surely, by any measure, their hopes were realized.
Upon graduation from high school in the San Bernardino area 1966 Jim joined the US Army. Like his father before him, Jim was proud to do his best in the defense of his home. After graduation from Infantry School, Jim attended Paratrooper school at Ft. Benning, GA. With brand new, shiny Jump Wings pinned to his chest he boarded a plane for the always violent Central Highlands of Vietnam. The warrior in his DNA saw him volunteer for the LRRPs (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol) of 2nd Bde, 4th Infantry Division. In the initial stages of the United States presence in Vietnam, the clear lack of real-time intelligence nearly allowed the NVA to overrun our forces in the Ia Drang, a battle related in the book and movie “We Were Soldiers Once….and Young”. Shortly after that hard-won battle, the 1st Cav was replaced by the 4th Infantry Division with the mission to “Tame the Ia Drang”. One of the first decisions was to determine how best to know the enemy. The solution was to insert 4-man teams of Rangers, then called LRRPs, to surreptitiously live in the jungle amongst the enemy. They would be inserted into the jungle for extended missions and patrol an area of suspected enemy concentration to uncover weaknesses and eliminate when possible. Later, in 1969, an Army-wide re-designation of all LRRPs transitioned them into Company K (Ranger), 75th Infantry (Airborne). Jim and the teams from 2nd Bde LRRPs he went to battle with ran missions out of the infamous Firebase “Oasis” in Kontum Province. His decision to volunteer was courageous and dangerous, but no young soldier who proudly wore the “Tiger Stripe Fatigues” ever regretted that decision.
When Jim finally came back to “the world”, the Viet Cong must have sighed with relief. The ferocity of the violence members of the 2nd Bde LRRPs brought to the enemy in Kontum Province made that an exceptionally hazardous duty assignment for the enemy. Fourth Infantry Division Commanding General Pepke once remarked during a high-level briefing, “My LRRPs are out-killing my entire Division!” Each member contributed to the reputation that endures today and will endure for many tomorrows to come. After his release from active duty, Jim remained in the Army Reserves for 20 additional years.
In civilian life, Jim followed his father’s footsteps once again. Jim’s father, an electrician, contracted for electrical companies. In 1970 Jim became a lineman for Southern California Edison working on power poles. In Las Vegas, on the day after Valentine’s Day in 1998, Jim married the love of his life. It took much of his life searching but he found his life partner, Linda S. Blades Trimble. LRRPs, you see, never rush into anything. They would never be apart again. During this time, Jim and Linda lived and raised their children in Victorville and Hesperia, CA. In 2001 Jim retired from SCE and busied himself working for various electrical companies. Eventually, they moved to Edmond, OK where they lived for 7 years before making their final move to Pahrump, NV in 2012. Over the years, Jim and Linda renewed friendships at several LRRP / Ranger Reunions.
In October 2019 Jim was diagnosed with an aggressive Cancer involving his abdomen. If he had symptoms prior to that, he never said, and never complained. In early December, he underwent unsuccessful surgery in the Summerlin Hospital. On December 17, 2019 his illness did what the hordes of VC and NVA could not do those many years ago in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. With Linda by his side, he closed his eyes one final time, without complaint and few regrets. A life well lived.
Jim, as all of his fellow LRRP / Rangers volunteered for the 2nd Bde LRRPs despite the extreme risk, perhaps because of it. Many people have asked why would one do that. There are as many reasons for their choice as there are men. All share the trait of courage and willingness to give their all for their brother Rangers and their country. Some Rangers are never placed in mortal danger, while others seem to attract it. The circumstances of their death cannot enhance or diminish the courage and heroism shown by these Rangers when they chose to become Rangers. Some Rangers are destined to die surrounded by expended brass and the bodies of their enemy, others will die many years after their service, unharmed and surrounded by their loved ones. All will be remembered as having been among the best this nation can send to war. All are heros. They never needed to show their courage with results, their decision to risk everything for the promise of nothing made that un-necessary. Each Ranger carries with them a bit of the honor earned by each other Ranger.
In addition to his wife Linda, Jim is survived by sons John and Jason and daughters Lisa, Teena and Amy as well as 8 grandchildren. A Memorial/ Military service on February 1st 2020 enabled friends and family to pay their last honors to this fine Ranger.