General James T. Conway was born in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas and is a graduate of Southeast Missouri State University. He was commissioned in 1970 as an infantry officer. His company grade assignments included multiple platoon and company commander billets with both the 1st and 2nd Marine Divisions; Executive Officer of the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63); series and company commander at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego; aide to the Commanding General, and Director, Sea School.
As a field grade officer, he commanded two companies of officer students and taught tactics at The Basic School; he also served as operations officer for the 31st Marine Amphibious Unit to include contingency operations off Beirut, Lebanon; and as Senior Aide to the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, he was reassigned to the 2d Marine Division as Division G-3 Operations Officer before assuming command of 3d Battalion, 2d Marines in January 1990.
He commanded Battalion Landing Team 3/2 during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Selected for colonel, he served as the Ground Colonels' Monitor, and as Commanding Officer of The Basic School. His general officer duties included Deputy Director of Operations, J-34, Combating Terrorism, Joint Staff, Washington, D.C.; and President, Marine Corps University at Quantico, VA. After promotion to Major General, he assumed command of the 1st Marine Division. In November 2002, Major General Conway was promoted to Lieutenant General and assumed command of the I Marine Expeditionary Force. He commanded I Marine Expeditionary Force during two combat tours in Iraq. In 2004, he was reassigned as the Director of Operations, J-3, Joint Staff, in Washington, D.C.
General Conway graduated with honors from The Basic School, the U.S. Army Infantry Officers Advanced Course, the Marine Corps Command and Staff College and the Air War College.
General Conway's personal decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal with palm, Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with two Gold Stars, Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal and the Combat Action Ribbon.