Jimmy Blackmon

Leadership Consultant, Military Leader

Jimmy Blackmon is among the most combat-experienced leaders of the modern era. He has led high-risk missions all over the world, including serving as the air mission commander on the operation that netted #2 and #3 in the famous Iraqi deck of cards. Amazingly, Jimmy also served as the aviation commander during the battles in which four Medals of Honor were earned in Afghanistan – in the very valleys where the attacks of 9/11 were planned and rehearsed. Having achieved impressive results, Jimmy understands how to navigate the complexities of the 21st century. His ability to develop an organizational strategy, build living systems and processes that enable organizations to thrive with speed and agility in the modern era, and build cohesive teams driven by vision and purpose are unparalleled.


Jimmy’s natural storytelling ability brings his experiences alive. From funny, behind-the-scenes soldier stories to high-stakes crisis management in combat, Jimmy shares colorful experiences that are sure to both educate and entertain your audience. But Jimmy is far more than a proven leader and entertaining speaker.


Jimmy is an IBO World Champion in archery. He made a U.S. Armed Forces World Cross Country Team and has run a 2:33 marathon. Jimmy will motivate your team to define success, set goals, and maximize their own personal potential. As a keynote speaker or providing an in-depth developmental seminar, Jimmy can help make a difference in your organization.


Born the son of a humble cotton mill worker in northern Georgia, Jimmy’s story is proof that the American Dream lives. He enlisted in the Army Reserves in 1986 with the dream of a bright future. He graduated from North Georgia College in 1991, and he received a commission as a second lieutenant in aviation. In the thirty years following, Jimmy Blackmon has served in various command and staff positions throughout the Army. He has led American soldiers during two tours in the Balkans, two tours in Iraq, and two tours in Afghanistan. Jimmy spent twelve years of his career in the famed 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), where he commanded Task Force Pale Horse from 2008–2010, and the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade from 2012–2015 where he led over 3,500 of America’s sons and daughters in combat in Afghanistan.


Jimmy Blackmon holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from North Georgia College, a Master of Science in Education from Old Dominion University, and a Master’s in National Security Strategy from the National War College in Washington, D.C. He is Airborne, Ranger, and Air Assault qualified. Jimmy has earned the Combat Action Badge and is a Master Army Aviator. Some of his awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, four Bronze Star Medals, and four Air Medals. Jimmy is the author of two books: Southern Roots, a memoir of growing up in the South, and PALE HORSE – Hunting Terrorists and Commanding Heroes with the 101st Airborne Division.


Jimmy concluded his military service in the J5 –  Plans and Policy Division on the Joint Staff in Washington, D.C., where he led a select team of Department of Defense strategists as they developed plans, policy and strategic posture for our nation’s most complex global problems. You can follow Jimmy Blackmon on YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.

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BOOK Pale HorseHunting Terrorists and Commanding Heroes with the 101st Airborne Division
St. Martin's Griffin

Pale Horse is the remarkable never-before-told true story of an army aviation task force during combat in the Afghan War, told by the commanding officer who was there.

Vision, Culture, Climate, and the Leadership that Binds Them Through the colorful, engaging storytelling ability Jimmy is known for, in this presentation, he shares practical, pragmatic methods for casting an organizational vision, shaping culture, and setting a climate that is conducive to success. Vision alone isn't enough. Jimmy explains how leaders must employ a systematic approach to gain the trust and buy-in of their employees in order to reach their goals and fulfill their mission.

Clients will leave this presentation with a clear understanding of the importance of an empowering culture and positive work climate.
Targeting Success Through a Culture of Innovation In this highly engaging presentation, Jimmy Blackmon shares the techniques he used to shape the culture and set a climate for success as a commander of over 3,500 of America’s sons and daughters. This presentation demonstrates that a hierarchical culture limits organizational potential and diminishes trust. Conversely, the culture Jimmy created led to a climate in which the most junior men and women in his organization felt safe and empowered to offer ideas and solutions to very complex problems. Better yet, they were expected to offer up ideas. The climate that evolved was safe, proving that one could fail and not be a failure.

At the end of one of the most battle-ridden years in combat in Afghanistan, Jimmy’s organization emerged as the most decorated unit in the Army. “Not because of me, but because of the collective talent of my soldiers,” Jimmy says. “I merely shaped an environment in which they felt safe to explore their potential.”
Leadership for the 21st Century Management is about systems and processes. Leadership is about inspiring human behavior. Both are vitally important to the success of any organization. Through practical examination, Jimmy demonstrates the necessity of both.

In his formative years, Jimmy was told that leadership is lonely business, but he never bought into that idea. “If you’re lonely, you’re not leading,” he says. “You’re mountain-climbing.” A leader who does not connect with those they lead will be followed half-heartedly because of position and title. An inspiring leader who develops genuine relationships with those they lead will be followed because they inspire human accomplishment.

Read Kirkus’ review of Jimmy’s book, Pale Horse. Learn more about Jimmy on his website. Browse Jimmy’s Youtube channel.

"Jimmy’s authenticity allows him to connect with every level of an organization. His inspirational stories around leadership as well as encouragement on the power of cultivating positive relationships allowed our team to have a greater understanding of each other as well as how we better motivate and communicate within our organization. I would highly recommend Jimmy for any company looking to maximize each employee’s potential."
— Jed Thomas, VP of Tennessee Coca Cola

"Jimmy Blackmon is an inspiring leader whose public addresses provide a refreshingly honest and engaging perspective of unit cohesion and camaraderie through challenging environments and circumstances. He is a speaker not to be missed, as his talks mix humility, pride, and humor in captivating fashion. Jimmy's unique storytelling ability makes him a speaker for both domestic and international civilian and military audiences alike."
— Don Baker, CEO and President of Paddock

“Jimmy Blackmon, a proven leader, tested in combat, captures his audience’s attention from emerging to senior leaders, through the power of his stories. He takes leaders from where they are to where they need to be by leveraging his authentic, downhome humor and passion. Jimmy leaves his listeners inspired and better prepared to serve their organizations by sharing his lessons learned from leading complex organizations with the vital message that it’s the people that are the ones who accomplish the mission.”
— Jim Solomon, CEO of Chambers Bay Institute

“Jimmy Blackmon is the real deal. His zest for life, his integrity, and can-do attitude are far and above that of most people. I have known Jimmy for over ten years and have always known him to be of the highest morals and character. If I was able to hire him in my business, I would do so yesterday. People like Jimmy Blackmon do not come around very often.”
– Darrell Cravath, President of D&B Distribution

"Jimmy Blackmon is a proven leader who understands how to connect with people on the most visceral level. His gifted storytelling ability brings his experiences to life. Having led complex Army units in combat multiple times, Jimmy understands the importance of people and relationships. It is refreshing to hear stories of love, compassion, sacrifice, and team work among the men and women who sacrifice so much for our nation. I can't recommend him highly enough!"
— David Cliché, Owner of Distribution by Air

"Jimmy Blackmon is an inspiring leader whose public addresses provide a refreshingly honest and engaging perspective of unit cohesion and camaraderie through challenging environments and circumstances. He is a speaker not to be missed, as his talks mix humility, pride, and humor in captivating fashion. Jimmy's unique storytelling ability makes him a speaker for both domestic and international civilian and military audiences alike."
– Meg K. Guliford, Editor-in-Chief, Fletcher Security Review, Ph.D. Candidate Tufts University, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy

“If you’re looking for a master story-teller who delivers his messages on life and leadership with passionate authenticity, you can’t do better than Jimmy Blackmon!”
– Byrd Baggett, CSP

"Nothing short of exceptional. Jimmy's stories of leadership in some of the most challenging conditions imaginable are inspiring, but it's his natural storytelling ability that brings them to life for his audience."
- Robert Huffman

“Jimmy Blackmon’s unique ability to share his leadership experience gave him instant credibility with my team at Eaton. We left the session excited to improve our leadership and better prepared to maximize the potential of each employee in our organization. I can't overstate the impact he made on our leaders.”
- Joshua Teteak, Eaton Electrical Products Group

“After Jimmy Blackmon spoke to a group of approximately 1200 employees and vendors at our company’s International Sales Conference, many attendees mentioned his presentation in response to the survey question: What did you like best about the conference? Some of the terms used to describe it were “amazing,” “excellent,” “phenomenal,” and “outstanding”. His inspiring military credentials, combined with his natural gift for storytelling, bring his experiences to life in a compelling way that audiences of varying ages and backgrounds can all relate to.”

– Donna Williams, Chief Marketing Officer & General Manager of Sales, Pool Corp