James Binnicker was born on July 23, 1938, in Orangeburg, South Carolina. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force on August 1, 1957, and completed basic training at Lackland AFB, Texas, in October 1957. His first assignment was as a life support equipment specialist with the 96th Air Refueling Squadron, with the 11th Bomb Wing, and then with the 11th Supply Squadron at Altus AFB, Oklahoma, from October 1957 to February 1963, followed by service as an air operations specialist with the 816th Strategic Aerospace Division at Altus from March to September 1963. Sgt Binnicker next served as an air operations specialist with the 11th Strategic Aerospace Wing at Altus AFB from September 1963 to July 1964, and then as an air operations specialist and air operations supervisor with the 1502nd Air Transport Wing (redesignated the 61st Military Airlift Wing in January 1966) from August 1964 to September 1967. His next assignment was as NCOIC of the Base Operations Branch with the 804th Combat Support Group at Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota, from September 1967 to August 1968, followed by service as an air operations supervisor and NCOIC of Base Operations with the 22nd Tactical Air Support Squadron at Binh Thuy AB, South Vietnam, and as a language instructor with the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Language School in Saigon from August 1968 to August 1969. MSgt Binnicker served as air operations superintendent with the 58th Military Airlift Squadron at Robins AFB, Georgia, from September 1969 to May 1971, and then as NCOIC of Wing Operations with the 374th Tactical Airlift Wing at Ching Chuan Kang AB, Taiwan, from May 1971 to August 1972. His next assignment was as operations superintendent and Senior Enlisted Advisor for the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina, from August 1972 to September 1975, followed by service as Senior Enlisted Advisor for 12th Air Force at Bergstrom AFB, Texas, from September 1975 to June 1978. During this time, CMSgt Binnicker served as the Air Force enlisted representative and Senior Enlisted Advisor on the President's Commission on Military Compensation from October 1977 to April 1978. He served as Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Commander in Chief of Pacific Air Forces at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, from June 1978 to June 1981, followed by service as Chief of the Enlisted Retention Division with Headquarters Manpower and Personnel Center at Randolph AFB, Texas, from June 1981 to May 1982. His next assignment was as Assistant for Chief Master Sergeant Matters with Headquarters Manpower and Personnel Center from May 1982 to May 1985, and then as Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Commander of Tactical Air Command at Langley AFB, Virginia, from May 1985 to July 1986. CMSgt Binnicker's final assignment was as the 9th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force from July 1, 1986 until his retirement from the Air Force on August 1, 1990. Chief Binnicker died on March 21, 2015.
His Air Force Distinguished Service Medal Citation reads:
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, awards the Distinguished Service Medal to Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James C. Binnicker for exceptionally meritorious service in a duty of great responsibility. Chief Binnicker distinguished himself as Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, Office of the Chief of Staff, Headquarters United States Air Force, the Pentagon, Washington, District of Columbia, from 1 July 1986 to 30 September 1990. In this important assignment, the forceful leadership and outstanding, dedicated efforts of Chief Binnicker were significantly displayed during times of unprecedented budget cuts and resulting reductions in end strength and major changes in PCS policies. He was responsible for major changes to improve the quality of life and the quality of the enlisted force to include the new Enlisted Evaluation System, the First Sergeant Academy Review and Noncommissioned Officer Professional Military Education Review. The singularly distinctive accomplishments of Chief Binnicker culminate a long and distinguished career in the service of his country and reflect the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.