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  POSTED ON: Thursday, June 24, 2021 5:02 PM by

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Midshipman Michael Myles James, 22, of Hiram, Georgia, was found unresponsive the morning of June 23 while on leave from the U.S. Naval Academy. The cause of death is being investigated; foul play is not suspected.

“We are incredibly saddened by the death of Midshipman Myles James,” said Vice Adm. Sean Buck, 63rd Superintendent, U.S. Naval Academy. “My wife, Joanne, and I, on behalf of our Naval Academy family here in Annapolis including the many midshipmen, faculty, and staff who had formed close bonds with James, offer our deepest condolences to his family.” 

James was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, but grew up in Hiram, Georgia, where he was raised by his uncle, Linwood Welch Jr. He graduated from McEachern High School in Powder Springs, Georgia, where he played football and wrestled. 

Upon high school graduation, James attended the Naval Academy Prep School (NAPS) before being selected for admission to the Naval Academy and reporting to Annapolis with the Class of 2022 in June of 2018. He was a member of the 9th Company (later 19th Company), an English major, and played football his plebe year.

“We are heartbroken to hear of Myles’ passing,” said Ken Niumatalolo, head football coach at the Naval Academy. “Myles was a great young man and was beloved by his brothers/teammates. He was fun to be around and was a real jokester. Our deepest condolences go out to his family. Rest in peace, Brother Myles.”

“I’ve known Myles James since NAPS. He was the ‘class clown’ with the infectious personality and smile you could easily find yourself gravitating towards. But he was also so much more than that; Myles was your brother, someone who always had your back and made sure that you knew it. He would remind you to celebrate every aspect of life and to look good while you did it,” said Midshipman 1st Class (senior) Yenuel OrtizRodriguez. “Early on into our friendship I told Myles my family lived in Puerto Rico and I was not able to visit them often. Without hesitation Myles welcomed me into his home, and into his family with open arms. He touched my heart and I am forever grateful for meeting him.”

“Myles James was endearing and had an infectious personality,” said Pamela Schmitt, Dean of Student Academic Development and James’s academic advisor. “I'm not ashamed to say that I loved every moment I spent with him. He was as kind hearted a soul as I’ve ever met, and he will be missed by everyone who knew him. I wish I’d had the opportunity to give him a big ol’ hug, because when I heard the news, every bone in my body hurt.”

Counseling services and support are available to midshipmen, faculty, and staff through chains of command, chaplains, and the Midshipmen Development Center. 

Funeral arrangements are pending, and more information will be provided as it becomes available. The Naval Academy will continue to support James’s family, friends, and loved ones during this time of grief.  

James is survived by his uncle, Linwood Welch Jr.; his mother, Stacy Welch; and siblings J.C. Thomas III and Brianna Thomas.


Category: People, Press Releases