Colonel James M. Bright attended Virginia Military Institute and graduated in May 1987. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in July 1987. From April 1988 to July 1991, after graduating from The Basic School and Infantry Officers Course, Col Bright was assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Marines and later as the Regimental TOW Platoon Commander where he deployed in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM.
From July 1991 to August 1995, Col Bright was reassigned to The Basic School, Quantico where he served as Tactics Instructor, Staff Platoon Commander, Operations Officer, and instructor at the Infantry Officer Course. From August 1995 to January 1996, Col Bright attended the Infantry Officers Advanced Course, Fort Benning, Georgia.
From January 1996 to October 1997, Col Bright was transferred to 1st Battalion, 3d Marines as the Logistics Officer and then Commanding Officer, Company C. In October 1997, Col Bright assumed the duties as AC/S for Operations, Marine Corps Base Hawaii until 1 February 1998, where he was reassigned as Inspector-Instructor, 4th Force Reconnaissance Company, Honolulu, Hawaii until July 2000.
From August 2000 to May 2001, Col Bright attended Command and Staff College, Quantico, Virginia. From June 2001 to June 2004, Col Bright was then assigned to Special Operations Command, Europe in Stuttgart, Germany as a contingency operations planner.
From June 2004 to June 2005, Col Bright served as the Deputy G-3, 2d Marine Division and deployed to Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. From June 2005 to May 2007, Col Bright served as Commanding Officer, 2d Reconnaissance Battalion and again deploying to Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.