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Commander Patrick Lakusta

A native of Flower Mound, Texas, Commander Patrick Lakusta received his Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy in 2007.  Following graduation he attended the Air Force Institute of Technology and received his Master’s Degree in
Aeronautical Engineering in 2008.  After completing flight school, he earned his Wings of Gold in 2010 and reported to VFA-106 for initial F/A-18E/F training from 2011-2012.
During his first operational tour assigned to the VFA-11 “Red Rippers” at Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana, VA, he deployed aboard USS Enterprise (CVN 65) in 2012 in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, followed by a full Fleet Readiness Training Program (FRTP) and partial deployment aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71).  While a Ripper, he qualified as a Wing Landing Signals Officer (LSO), Forward Air Controller (Airborne) (FAC(A)), and Strike Fighter Weapons and Tactics (SFWT) Level III Instructor.
In 2015, CDR Lakusta reported to US Naval Test Pilot School in Class 149 at NAS Patuxent River, MD.  Following graduation from USNTPS in 2016, he was assigned to the VX-23 “Salty Dogs” as a test pilot.  At VX-23, he was qualified as a Shake, Rattle, and Roll LSO Instructor and served as the Project Officer for Acquisition Category (ACAT) IC Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG), ACAT IC USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) Aircraft Compatibility Testing, and ACAT IC Joint Precision Approach Landing System (JPALS).  Additionally, he gained experience in weapon separation, loads, noise and vibration, precision approach and landing systems, and flying qualities testing.
CDR Lakusta reported to the VFA-154 “Black Knights” at NAS Lemoore, CA in August of 2018 for his Department Head tour.  There he served as the Maintenance and Operations Officers, and gained qualifications as an Air Interdiction Mission Commander (Strike Lead) and SFWT Level IV Instructor.  He completed a full FRTP and deployment aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), and participated in Exercise NORTHERN EDGE 2019.
Departing VFA-154 in 2020, CDR Lakusta reported to Headquarters, US European Command (USEUCOM) in Stuttgart, Germany where he served as the Deputy Branch Chief for Special Activities in the J23 Joint Reconnaissance Center.  There he served as program manager for two national controlled access programs and provided strategic classified support directly to CDRUSEUCOM and his staff, as well as completing an additional Master’s Degree in Flight Test Engineering with National Test Pilot School in Mojave, CA.
CDR Lakusta returned to NAS Lemoore, CA in April 2023 to transition to the F-35C, and reported to the VFA-86 “Sidewinders” in December 2023 as the Executive Officer.  He is married to Dr. Amanda Lakusta, of Spearfish, SD. They have two children, Amelia (8 yrs) and Ethan (5 yrs), and reside in Hanford, CA.
CDR Lakusta has accumulated over 1,900 flight hours in 30 different T/M/S, including the JAS-39D and MiG-15, among others.  He has completed 413 arrested landings on nine aircraft carriers and is certified as Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) Level II in Test & Evaluation.  His personal awards and decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (1 Award), Air Medal (1 Strike/Flight Award), Navy Commendation Medal (2 Awards), and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2 Awards).

Last Updated: 5 January 2024

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