A native of Spring Hill, Florida, Master Chief Musician James Malmgren joined the Navy in June 1984. Upon completion of Recruit Training in Orlando, Florida, he attended the Navy School of Music in Norfolk, Virginia where he completed the Basic Course of Instruction. In March 1985, he reported to his first assignment with the SIXTH Fleet Band in Naples, Italy as a trumpet instrumentalist.
Subsequent assignments include Navy Band San Diego, Navy Band New Orleans, and SEVENTH Fleet Band in Yokosuka, Japan, forward deployed onboard USS BLUE RIDGE (LCC 19).
Promoted to chief petty officer in September 1997, he reported to Navy Band Southeast in Jacksonville, Florida. In 1999, he returned to School of Music to attend the Enlisted Bandleader Course. Following training, he remained onboard School of Music as an instructor. During this assignment he was promoted to Senior Chief, earned his Master Training Specialist designation, and later moved on to serve as Head, Rehearsal Division.
In 2002, he attended the U.S. Navy Senior Enlisted Academy in Newport, Rhode Island (Class 104 Blue), and subsequently reported to ATLANTIC Fleet Band, Norfolk, Virginia, as leader of the U.S. Navy Showband for UNITAS XLIII, and XLIV. During this tour, he led his group during numerous performances throughout South America and the Caribbean.
In October 2004, he reported to SEVENTH Fleet Band as Assistant Director and Senior Enlisted Leader. During this tour, he earned his Enlisted Surface Warfare designation onboard USS BLUE RIDGE (LCC 19). In May 2007, he was promoted to the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer and reported to Navy Band Southeast as Assistant Director and Senior Enlisted Leader.
MUCM(SW) Malmgren most recently served as Senior Enlisted Leader of the United States Naval Academy Band from June 2010 to January 2014. His personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (5 awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and Navy Good Conduct Medal (8 awards). He holds an Associate in Arts degree from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Thomas Edison State College.