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Vice Admiral Kenneth Whitesell

Commander, Naval Air Forces/Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet

Mr. Bryan Scurry

Executive Director, Naval Air Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet

Captain Todd "Chimi" Cimicata

Chief of Staff, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet

Force Master Chief Jason M. Haka

Force Master Chief, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet

Commander Nicholas "TRON" Schnettler

Commanding Officer, Helicopter Sea Combat Weapons School Pacific

31 December 2020 Commander Nicholas "TRON" Schnettler
Commanding Officer, Helicopter Sea Combat Weapons School Pacific

A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Commander Schnettler is a graduate of Purdue University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering.  Commissioned through the Purdue University Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps in May 2004, he remained at Purdue to complete his Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Following flight training in Pensacola, Florida, he was designated an Unrestricted Naval Aviator in November 2007.

Commander Schnettler began his operational aviation career flying the MH-60S with the “Sea Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron TWO TWO (HSC-22), where he deployed aboard USS BATAAN (LHD 5) in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and USS FREEDOM (LCS 1) in support of U.S. Southern Command Counter Narco Terrorism operations. In August 2011, he reported to Helicopter Sea Combat Weapons School Atlantic (HSCWSL) for duty as a Seahawk Weapons and Tactics Instructor (SWTI). Following completion of the SEAWOLF course in Fallon, Nevada, Commander Schnettler qualified as a Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) and served as Subject Matter Expert for the HELLFIRE missile, the Multispectral Targeting System, and Close Air Support. At the conclusion of this tour, he was recognized as the Naval Helicopter Association Region Four Instructor Pilot of the Year.

In November 2014, Commander Schnettler reported to the “Dragonwhales” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron TWO EIGHT (HSC-28) as the Training Officer. He served as action officer for the introduction of the MH-60S unguided rocket weapons system and associated aircrew training, directly enabling inaugural deployment in an Expeditionary Strike Group.

Transferring to the “Night Dippers” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron FIVE (HSC-5) for his Department Head tour in August 2016, Commander Schnettler served as Safety Officer, Training Officer, and Operations Officer. He completed multiple deployments aboard USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN 72), USS WASP (LHD 1), and USS KEARSARGE (LHD 3) in support of Defense Support to Civil Authorities (DSCA) disaster relief efforts in the United States and Puerto Rico. During this tour, he qualified as an Aviation Safety Officer, Command Duty Officer Underway, completed Joint Military Professional Education Phase One, and was recognized as Pilot of the Year.

In 2019, Commander Schnettler reported to the Joint Staff Operations Directorate (J-3) in Arlington, Virginia, where he served as Assistant Deputy Director for Operations and Presidential Strike Advisor, Operations Team FOUR, in the National Military Command Center. During this tour, he completed a Masters Certificate in Cyber Secuirty through Naval Postgraduate School. He selected for aviation command in 2020, reported to Helicopter Sea Combat Weapons School Pacific (HSCWSP) as Executive Officer in July 2021, and assumed command in August 2022.

Commander Schnettler has accumulated more than 2,600 flight hours in 6 different aircraft. His awards include a Sikorsky Rescue Award, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (4 awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2 awards), and various campaign, unit and Service awards.
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