James Yeager, one of the most recognizable figures within the firearms training community and the gun industry in general, passed away Sept. 2.
Yeager was a voracious firearms trainer – with a career stretching back to 1994 – and forged a lengthy course history that reads not unlike the genealogy in the Book of Genesis. Boasting a student roster reportedly somewhere in the tens of thousands, he worked with everyone from military special forces units and elite law enforcement teams around the world, not to mention self-defense and tactically-inclined American civilians.
Indeed, his last “Big Mission” was just this last spring, when Yeager set off for war-torn Ukraine to train 150 Ukrainian soldiers as Russian forces knocked on the doors of the capital Kiev. But he is perhaps best known to the broader firearms community for his role as CEO of Tactical Response, the kind of firearms and tactical training company that proudly boasts the motto, “We teach good people to kill bad people.”
Yeager had a reputation for being blunt, forceful, and mission-oriented. True to form, Yeager was not above wading into controversies, including a ban from YouTube for his content and a personal push to create an alternative, gun-friendly outlet – LiberTV. Regardless, Yeager earned an immensely loyal following among many within the firearms community and was a figure of note at major firearms-related events.
It was known that Yeager was fighting amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, but no official statement has been released on the cause of death. In a recent video hosted on the Tactical Response Facebook page, Yeager addressed his battle with ALS, stating: “Don’t cry for me, I have lived two – prolly three – lives in my 52 years, and I’m not done yet. I’m not going out that way.”
What was released were his final wishes during a live-stream video on his YouTube account. They were nothing short of exactly what you would expect from James Yeager:
There will be no obituary, no ceremony, and his ashes are to be spread in secret. Yeager said he never, ever, wanted anyone visiting his ashes and morning his death. He wanted people to celebrate his life, memory, and mission.
To that end, his friends are planning a “Big Ass Party” open to attendees at the range in Camden, Tennessee, on Sept. 10-11. It’s a chance to share stories and memories but, per Yeager’s last requests, “No sad shit.”