Jim graduated high school in Newport, NH in 1995 and enlisted in the Marine Corps. He signed up for a four-year enlistment as a construction engineer, and then remained in the Marine Corps Reserves, stationed at Fort Devens until 2001 when he signed up for another four-year enlistment, this time as a Combat Engineer. He served on many deployments and did a tour in Iraq in 2003.
Jim left active duty in 2005 and started his own construction business. Then, in 2008 he joined the Army as a Drill Sergeant attached to a reserve unit in Londonderry, NH.