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Commander Robert Belflower
Executive Officer, Helicopter Maritime Strike Weapons School Pacific
A native of Tulare, California, Commander Belflower graduated from the University of Maryland in 2005, earning a Bachelor of Arts in History. CDR Belflower was commissioned through the Seaman-to-Admiral 21 program and reported to NAS Pensacola, FL for flight training in August 2005. He earned his Naval Aviator “Wings of Gold” in July 2007. In August 2007, CDR Belflower reported to the HSM 40 “Airwolves” for initial fleet training in the SH-60B.
CDR Belflower began his operational flying in May 2008 with the “Wolfpack” of HSL 45. While a member of the “Wolfpack” he made two deployments, one aboard USS RENTZ (FFG 46) and another in USS HOWARD (DDG 83), participating in operations in the Arabian Gulf; counter-piracy under Commander, JTF Horn of Africa; Operation ENDURING FREEDOM; and CARAT 2011.
CDR Belflower reported to his flight instructor tour with the “Vigilant Eagles” of Helicopter Training Squadron 18 (HT 18) in November 2011, where he served as the Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA) Night Tactics Model Manager and Night Vision Device Standardization Pilot. During this tour he completed Naval War College JPME Phase 1, and was selected the 2013 HT 18 Officer of the Year.
CDR Belflower reported in June 2014 to the Washington Navy Yard as Flag Aide to RADM James J. Shannon, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy, International Programs. In July 2016 he reported as the Executive Department Head with the “Seahawks” of HSM 41, the MH-60R Pacific Fleet Replacement Squadron, while completing transition syllabus to the MH-60R.
CDR Belflower returned to the fleet as a Department Head in HSM 77, the “Saberhawks”. As a Saberhawk forward-deployed in Atsugi, Japan, he completed four deployments aboard USS RONALD REAGAN (CVN 76) in support of 7
FLEET operations in the Western Pacific, serving as the Training Officer and Operations Officer. Additionally, he completed one deployment as helicopter detachment Officer in Charge embarked in USS CHANCELLORSVILLE (CG 62). While assigned to HSM 77, CDR Belflower was selected as the 2019 and 2020 squadron Officer of the Year. During this tour CDR Belflower also completed a Master of Science in International Relations from Northeastern University.
Following his department head tour, CDR Belflower served as a Requirements Analyst, United States Africa Command, J8 Directorate. While at USAFRICOM, he advocated for warfighter requirements as the Joint Urgent/Emergent Operational Needs action officer. He also served a one-year assignment as the Executive Officer to the Deputy Commander of USAFRICOM, Lt Gen Kirk Smith, USAF. He selected for command in March 2021 and is scheduled to report to Helicopter Maritime Strike Weapons School Pacific as Executive Officer in October 2022.
CDR Belflower has accumulated more than 3,000 flight hours in naval aircraft. His awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (3 awards), Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal (5 awards), and various service awards and ribbons. He is married to the former Carmen Schmitt of Orange Park, Florida, and they have two daughters, Jillian (16) and Claire (12).
Last Updated: 6 October 2022