Jim “Pebs” Pebley, U.S. Navy (Ret.) is most proud of his time as a P-3 Orion pilot. He and his wife Cecile, also a retired naval commander, decided to reside in Arlington after retiring from the Navy.
Jim was a republican in a County that is overwhelmingly democratic. His dedication to the well-being of Arlington County, however, transcended party politics. He served on numerous County groups and commissions. In 2017 Jim was honored by the County Board for his public service.
Jim’s involvement with the USS Arlington started in 2012 as a member of the USS Arlington Commissioning Committee. Jim led the committee as over $438,000 was raised to fund the commissioning and the construction of the Tribute Room on the ship.
After the commissioning Jim helped create the USS Arlington Community Alliance as a means to maintain contact between the USS Arlington and 9/11 family members, first responders, and county residents. He led that effort for many years until moving to North Carolina, though he still continued to serve as a member.
While in North Carolina Jim battled cancer. In a little known, but heart inspiring effort by the crew USS Arlington while deployed, “Operation Ancient Aviator” took place. Jim received get well photos every few days. In addition, he was sent a photo of the USS Arlington signed by the crew.
Jim was wise, eternally positive, optimistic, and generous both financially and in spirit. Jim had requested that when he passed away that his ashes be scattered at sea. Prior to his passing Jim wrote “I’ve told Cecile (wife) that I want to be cremated and the remains scattered off the back of OUR ship….tell the ship I’m coming and what my connection is….. we just changed skippers and XO’s so they don’t know me from just another old cranky sailor.” The USS Arlington took Jim on his final cruise.