Commander James M. Charapich

Executive Officer, Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 132

23 October 2020 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 continued his education by completing 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 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 first 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 including Maintenance and 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).  With GMD, he supported FTG-11, the first salvo intercept test of the system against an ICBM target, advanced GMD’s defensive cyber posture and earned an Executive Master of Business Administration degree through Washington State University.  He completed his joint tour in the fall of 2020 and is scheduled to report to VAQ-132 in April 2021. 

CDR Charapich has accumulated over 2100 flight hours with over 1900 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.  Above and beyond his Naval career, he and his lovely wife Lilian are the proud parents of Jackson and Shelby Charapich.
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