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Force Master Chief
Force Master Chief
Commander Richard "Speed" Christoff
Commanding Officer, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 73
28 October 2020
Commander Richard “Speed” Christoff is a native of Youngstown, Ohio and a graduate of The Youngstown State University in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science and Information Systems. He received his commission through Navy Officer Candidate School in 2002.
CDR Christoff received his aviator warfare pin in August of 2004 through Advanced Helicopter training at NAS Whiting Field, Milton, Florida. CDR Christoff was assigned to his first operational tour with the “Proud Warriors” of HSL-42, Jacksonville, Florida in July 2005, supporting Standing Naval Forces Atlantic, Standing Naval Forces Mediterranean, and Counter Narcotics Operations in South America. He served as Assistant Training Officer, NATOPS Officer, and the Detachment FOUR Maintenance Officer. In 2008, he earned the HSL-42 Squadron Pilot of the Year Award.
In March of 2009, Commander Christoff reported for his initial shore assignment to the VX-1 “Pioneers” in Patuxent River, Maryland. During his time at VX-1, Commander Christoff was selected to attend the Seahawk Weapons and Tactics Instructor (SWTI) course in Fallon, Nevada. While with the “Pioneers” he served as the Squadron Weapons and Tactics Instructor, MH-60R Operational Test Director, MH-60R and SH-60B NTTP Model Manager, and the MH-60R and SH-60B Tactical Standardization Officer.
In March of 2012, Commander Christoff reported to Commander, Carrier Air Wing FIVE (CVW-5) as the HSM representative where he supported the “Saberhawks” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron SEVEN SEVEN (HSM-77) as well as the “Warlords” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron FIVE ONE (HSM-51). Significant to this tour, Commander Christoff was the first HSM Representative in CVW-5 and Commander Christoff helped lay the foundation for the current construct under which HSM squadrons integrate with Carrier Air Wing FIVE. In 2014, Commander Christoff was awarded the Naval Helicopter Association’s Shipboard Pilot of the Year award.
In May of 2014, Commander Christoff transferred to the “Proud Warriors” of HSM-72. As Squadron Operations Officer, he deployed in USS HARRY S TRUMAN (CVN 75) to the FIFTH Fleet AOR with Carrier Air Wing SEVEN and Carrier Strike Group EIGHT, supporting Operation INHERENT RESOLVE, while also participating in Counter-Piracy and Maritime Security Operations. In 2016, Commander Christoff earned the distinction as the HSM-72 Officer of the Year.
In November of 2016, Commander Christoff reported to United States Northern Command Joint Personnel Recovery Center at Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida. There he served as the J35 Personnel Recovery Coordinator and Catastrophic Incident Search and Rescue Planner for the Northern Command Area of Regard. The following March, Commander Christoff screened for operational aviation command, and reported to the “Battlecats” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron SEVEN THREE (HSM-73) as the Executive Officer in July of 2019.
Commander Christoff has logged over 2,500 hours in multiple aircraft and helicopters and has been awarded the Air Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and various other unit commendations and service medals.
HSM-73 Commanding Officer