Commander Aaron Carlson

Commanding Officer, Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 154

25 October 2020 CDR Carlson is a native of Glasgow, MT. He graduated from the University of Montana with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in 2001. He entered Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Pensacola, FL in April 2002 and was commissioned Ensign in July 2002. CDR Carlson then reported for flight training at Naval Air Station Pensacola where he earned his Wings of Gold and was designated a Naval Flight Officer in February 2004.

In April 2004, he reported to the "Flying Eagles" of Strike Fighter Squadron ONE TWO TWO (VFA-122) in Lemoore, CA for training as a Weapon Systems Officer (WSO) in the F/A-18F Super Hornet. Upon completion of his training, he reported in November 2004 to his first operational assignment with the "Black Aces " of Strike Fighter Squadron FOUR ONE (VFA-41), also based in Lemoore, CA. He deployed with the Black Aces in 2005 and 2007 aboard USS NIMITZ (CVN 68) in support of Operations IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF) and ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF). Upon completion of his first operational assignment, CDR Carlson reported to Expeditionary Warfare Training Group, Pacific (EWTGPAC) in Coronado, CA in October 2007 for duty as a Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) Instructor/Evaluator. During his tour, he served as a subject matter expert in Unmanned Aerial Systems, Fixed- and Rotary-Wing Close Air Support (CAS) Tactics, Precision-Guided Munitions, and Digitally-Aided CAS Systems. During his time at EWTGPAC, he attended graduate school at the University of San Diego and earned a Master of Science in Global Leadership degree in 2009.

Following his tour at EWTGPAC, in February 2009, CDR Carlson reported again to VFA-122 for duty as an Instructor WSO where he served as Schedules Officer, CAS Phase Head, F-Shop (WSO Training) Phase Head, NATOPS Program Manager, and was a member of the 2010 F/A-18F Demonstration Team. In March 2011, CDR Carlson reported to Commander, Carrier Air Wing NINE (CVW-9) in Lemoore, CA for duty as Strike Operations Officer on the Airwing Staff. He deployed in 2011 and 2012 aboard USS JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN 74) in support of OEF and Operation NEW DAWN (OND), and was aboard for the last Navy combat missions in Iraq at that time.

Upon successful completion of his tour at CVW-9, in January 2013, CDR Carlson reported to the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, KS where he completed Joint Professional Military Education Phase 1 and earned a Master of Military Art and Science degree. In April 2014, CDR Carlson reported to the "Jolly Rogers" of Strike Fighter Squadron ONE ZERO THREE (VFA-103) for duty as an Operational Department Head, where he served as Safety Officer, Administrative Officer, Maintenance Officer, and Operations Officer. He deployed in November 2015 in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE (OIR) aboard USS HARRY S TRUMAN (CVN 75). CDR Carlson reported to the Joint Staff J7 Deployable Training Division in November of 2016.

CDR Carlson has accumulated over 2,230 total flight hours, including over 2,000 hours in the F/A-18F Super Hornet, over 50 combat missions over Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, and over 250 combat flight hours. His personal decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Strike-Flight Air Medal (3), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (4), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (3), and several campaign and unit awards.
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