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Commander James M. Charapich
Commanding Officer, Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 132
A native of Salisbury, Maryland, CDR Charapich graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2005, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in History. Following commissioning, he completed a Master of Arts degree in History from George Washington University in 2007. He then reported to Pensacola, Florida and NAS Whiting Field for primary training before proceeding to VT-9 in Meridian, Mississippi where he earned his wings of gold in June 2009. Receiving orders to VAQ-129 and the Vikings at NAS Whidbey Island, CDR Charapich completed initial fleet training in the second class of EA-18G Growler student replacement aircrew.
In July 2010, CDR Charapich joined the Yellow Jackets of VAQ-138 before their first EA-18G Growler deployment. During this tour, he deployed to Al Asad Air Base, Iraq in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM and to both Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar and Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
CDR Charapich then transferred back to VAQ-129 as an Instructor Pilot in September 2013 where he served as the Personnel Officer, NATOPS Evaluator and Student Control Officer while helping five fleet squadrons transition to the EA-18G.
Returning to the fleet as a Department Head in late 2015, CDR Charapich helped the recently transitioned VAQ-142 Gray Wolves prepare for their maiden Growler deployment. As the senior pilot, he led the squadron’s inaugural EA-18G deployment with Carrier Air Wing ELEVEN onboard USS NIMITZ (CVN 68) in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE. During this tour, he earned his Strike Lead qualification and led each department culminating in Maintenance and then Operations.
Assigned to the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) at Schriever Air Force Base in September 2018, CDR Charapich served as the Colorado Site Lead for Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD). He also earned an Executive Master of Business Administration degree through Washington State University completing his joint tour in the fall of 2020.
Upon reporting to VAQ-132 in April 2021, he led the squadron across the Pacific to Japan for six months of forward deployed support split between NAF Misawa, Japan and Andersen AFB, Guam. Following the squadron’s return to Whidbey Island, the Scorps were the first squadron to transition to Growler Capability Modification (GCM) and H16.
CDR Charapich has accumulated over 2400 flight hours with over 2100 flight hours in the EA-18G, over 150 carrier arrested landings and 122 combat missions across Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. His awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Strike/Flight Air Medal (3 awards), Navy Commendation Medal (2 awards), Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal along with various campaign and service awards. Most of all, he is proud to be a part of the Scorp team that earned both the 2021 CNAF Battle “E” Award and the 2021 CNO Safety “S”.
Last Updated: 17 June 2022