James L. Ringgold was born in July 9, 1917 to James and Martha Ringgold who lived in West Chester, Pennsylvania. He was the oldest boy of five children. His father, James, is presumed to have died sometime in the 1930s and the family moved in with their grandparents.
James was educated in West Chester, and later married his wife Nancy. He worked at the Sun Ship Yard in Chester.
James entered the Army in November, 1943 and was shipped overseas to European Theater in June, 1944. He served in four major battles. While in France he was hospitalized for four months, and returned to duty in a Quartermaster Gas Supply Company, probably the Red Ball Express.
The Red Ball Express was started by the Army Transportation Corps and involved 140 truck companies comprised of 6,000 trucks and trailers from August - November, 1944. They delivered a massive amount of ammunition, fuel, and food across Europe to the rapidly advancing armies. The Red Ball Express operated 24/7, traveling at 25 miles per hour in the Army’s famed Duce and a half (2 ½ all stake body truck). Supply runs were up to 400 miles, and lasted as long as 54 hours. Two thirds of the Red Ball Express drivers were African American.
James' wife, Nancy, received a telegram from the Secretary of War on June 25th, that James died on June 8, 1945 in Germany. Subsequent information stated that he died non battle, but no specifics were given.
James brother, Robert served in the Army and was stationed in England.