Commander Michael A. Bender

Commanding Officer, Patrol Squadron (VP) 9

03 November 2020 Commander Mike Bender, a native of Newburg, Pennsylvania, graduated with distinction from the United States Naval Academy in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Naval Architecture and in 2011, earned an Executive Masters of Business Administration degree from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

Following commissioning, CDR Bender reported to Pensacola, Florida for Aviation Preflight Training.  At the completion of this duty, he reported to NAS Corpus Christi, TX for primary and advanced training in the T-34C and TC-12 and in November 2004, earned his “Wings of Gold.”

In January 2005, CDR Bender reported to the P-3C Orion Fleet Replenishment Squadron (FRS), VP-30, in Jacksonville, Florida.  Upon completion of this training, he reported to the “Fighting Tigers” of Patrol Squadron EIGHT (VP-8) at NAS Brunswick, ME, for his first operational tour.  While attached to VP-8 he completed a surge to CENTCOM in July and August 2006 and a deployment to CENTCOM from November 2006 to May 2007 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  His final deployment with VP-8 in 2008-2009 saw them depart NAS Brunswick for the final time as they would complete their homeport change to NAS Jacksonville at the completion of the deployment.

In February 2009, CDR Bender reported to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron ONE (VX-1) in Patuxent River, Maryland.  While attached to VX-1, CDR Bender was assigned to the newly created P-8A Integrated Test Team (ITT) and received his type rating and initial training in the 737-800.  As a member of the ITT, he gained valuable experience with the Navy’s newest patrol aircraft and was the P-8A Pilot NATOPS Officer and Assistant Operational Test Director (AOTD) for the P-8A program.  As the NATOPS Officer, he was the driving force and key architect for the development of the P-8A NATOPS manual and the established procedures for this new platform.

In February 2012, he reported to the P-8A Fleet Integration Team (FIT) attached to VP-30 at NAS Jacksonville, FL.  During his time at VP-30, he trained and qualified the initial P-8A Instructor Pilot cadre and was the first P-8A NATOPS Program Manager at the squadron.  After instructing four squadrons during their transition to the Poseidon, he transferred to the “Red Lancers” of VP-10 in February 2015 and helped complete their transition to the new aircraft.  As a Department Head at VP-10, CDR Bender served as the Quality Assurance Officer, Safety/NATOPS Officer, Training Officer, and Operations Officer.

Most recently, he served as the P-8A Training Systems Integrated Product Team Lead (IPTL) for the Naval Aviation Training Systems Program Office (PMA-205) and the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft Program Office (PMA-290) from July 2017 to October 2018.  In June 2019, CDR Bender reported to the “Golden Eagles” of VP-9 as Executive Officer.

CDR Bender has amassed over 2700 flight hours with over 1300 of those hours in the P-8A Poseidon.  His personal decorations include the Air Medal (one strike/flight), Navy Commendation Medal (five awards), Navy Achievement Medal (two awards) and various personal, unit and campaign decorations.‚Äč
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