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Force Master Chief
Force Master Chief
Commander Daniel J. Thomas
Commanding Officer, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8
27 October 2020
Commander Dan “DT” Thomas, a native of Plantation, Florida, attended the United States Naval Academy and graduated in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Oceanography. He was designated a Naval Aviator in June 2004 after attending flight school in Valdosta, GA and Pensacola, FL.
Upon completion of SH-60B Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) training, he was assigned to the “Battle Cats” of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Light Squadron FOUR THREE (HSL-43) in San Diego, CA from April 2005 to January 2006. Ten months into his tour at HSL-43, CDR Thomas was reassigned to the “Red Wolves” of Helicopter Combat Support-Special Squadron FOUR (HCS-4) in Norfolk, VA flying the HH-60H helicopter: HCS-4 was renamed Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron EIGHT-FOUR (HSC-84) in October of 2006. While assigned to HSC-84, CDR Thomas completed four flying deployments to Iraq supporting Joint Special Operations Task Force missions during OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF).
CDR Thomas next reported to the HSC-2 “Fleet Angels” in 2009 as an FRS Instructor Pilot and transitioned to flying the MH-60S helicopter. While assigned to HSC-2, he graduated from the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center (NAWDC) as a Weapons & Tactics Instructor (WTI) and served as the squadron tactics and standardization officer.
For his next assignment, CDR Thomas reported as the squadron WTI to the San Diego based “Wild Cards” of HSC-23 from 2011 to 2013 as the squadron training and tactics officer. In addition, he screened for Operational Department Head (DH) while attached to HSC-23.
In 2013, CDR Thomas completed a refresher syllabus in San Diego to requalify on the HH-60H helicopter before moving onto the “Fire Hawks” of HSC-85. At HSC-85, CDR Thomas served as the training and tactics DH and as Assistant Officer-in-Charge on a six-month deployment to the Pacific Area of Responsibility (AOR) supporting Special Operations Command-Pacific (SOCPAC) operations.
A year into his Department Head tour at HSC-85, he was reassigned to the “Night Dippers” of HSC-5 in Norfolk, Virginia. CDR Thomas completed an eight-month deployment to the Middle East Area of Responsibility with HSC-5 onboard CVN-75 from 2015-2016 in support of OPERATION INHERENT RESOLVE (OIR). During this deployment, CDR Thomas served as Officer-in-Charge on a five-month Personnel Recovery (PR) Detachment in northern Iraq, culminating in the Detachment’s rescue of four Americans. CDR Thomas served as the squadron tactics, training, and maintenance Department Head at HSC-5. In addition, CDR Thomas screened for operational command while attached to the squadron.
Following his tour at HSC-5, CDR Thomas completed a Master’s degree, JPME Phase-1 qualification, and served as a Halsey Bravo Research Fellow from August 2017 to December 2018, at the U.S. Naval War College, located in Newport, RI. He reported as Executive Officer to the World Famous “EightBallers” of HSC-8 in December 2019 and assumed Command of this outstanding squadron in March 2021.
CDR Thomas has accumulated over 3,300 hours of operational and combat flight time in Navy helicopters. He has been awarded several personal awards, numerous air medals, campaign medals, and unit awards. CDR Thomas enjoys leading Navy Sailors and fighting the mighty H-60S helicopter!
HSC-8 Commanding Officer