Cmdr. James Dance, a native of Halifax, Virginia, graduated from Norfolk State University in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Pre-Law. In 1997, he received a commission as an ensign in the U.S. Navy Reserve Chaplain Candidate Program and reported to the Navy Chaplains School in Newport, Rhode Island where he completed the Chaplains Basic Course and the Officer’s Indoctrination Course. Since then, he has earned a Master of Divinity in Pastoral Care from Shaw University Divinity School. He has also earned a Master of Theology in Pastoral Counseling and Psychology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School as well as a Master of Military Studies from the Command and Staff College of Marine Corps University.
His operational tours include an assignment with Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 31 as the squadron chaplain deploying in support of Pelelieu Pacific Partnership aboard USS Pelelieu (LHA 5), and aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) as the principal assistant to the command chaplain for two deployments in support of Operation Inherent Resolve in 2016 and again in 2018.
His shore tours include service as battalion chaplain, School of Infantry East; division officer and chapel pastor, Training Support Command Great Lakes; and as the deputy director for policy and strategy for the Chief of Navy Chaplains Office at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. He reported to the Naval Chaplaincy School and Center in Newport, Rhode Island, to serve as the director for professional development (N5) in November 2018.
Dance assumed the role of executive officer of the Naval Chaplaincy School and Center in May 2020.
His personal awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (five awards) and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards).