James Brigham was born on October 12, 1947, in Ocala, Florida. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on September 13, 1967, and completed basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia, in November 1967, followed by Advanced Individual Training as a Combat Demolitions Specialist at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, from November 1967 to January 1968. His first assignment was as a Combat Demolitions Specialist with Company A, 65th Engineer Battalion of the 25th Infantry Division in South Vietnam from March 1968 until he was captured and taken as a Prisoner of War by the Viet Cong on September 13, 1968. After spending 111 days in captivity, SP4 Brigham was released badly injured on January 1, 1969, and died shortly after returning to the United States on January 17, 1969. James Brigham was buried at Lincoln Memorial Gardens in Ocala, Florida.
His Bronze Star Medal Citation reads:
For distinguishing himself by outstanding meritorious service in connection with ground operations against a hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam during the period 23 February 1968 to 13 September 1968. Through his untiring efforts and professional ability, he consistently obtained outstanding results. He was quick to grasp the implications of new problems with which he was faced as a result of the ever changing situations inherent in a counterinsurgency operation and to find ways and means to solve those problems. The energetic application of his extensive knowledge has materially contributed to the efforts of the United States Mission to the Republic of Vietnam to assist that country in ridding itself of the Communist threat to its freedom. His initiative, zeal, sound judgement and devotion to duty have been in the highest tradition of the United States Army and reflect great credit on him and on the military service.