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Commander M. E. Kawika Chang
Commanding Officer, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 51
CDR Chang was born in Honolulu, HI and lived numerous places around the world, finishing high school in Rockville, MD. He graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2005 with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering and commissioned via Naval ROTC. He completed flight training and was designated a Naval Aviator in August 2007.
CDR Chang began his career with two consecutive sea duty assignments. In July 2008, he reported to the World Famous “Vipers” of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light FOUR EIGHT (HSL-48) at NS Mayport, FL. He deployed as the Admin Officer and Assistant Maintenance Officer for Detachment NINE onboard USS JOHN L. HALL (FFG-32), in support of 6
Fleet Theatre Security Cooperation (TSC) and African Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership (AMLEP) operations and was picked as the 2010 Administration Officer of the Year. CDR Chang also served as the Detachment TWO Maintenance Officer, onboard USS CARR (FFG-52) conducting Counter Illicit Trafficking (CIT) Operations in the south Caribbean.
In 2011, CDR Chang transitioned to the MH-60R and commenced a second operational sea tour assigned to HSL-51 at NAF Atsugi, Japan. He helped lead the “Warlords” through an unprecedented transition from the SH-60B to the MH-60R while the squadron remained fully operational as part of the Forward Deployed Naval Force and was re-designated Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron FIVE ONE (HSM-51). From 2012-2014 CDR Chang served as the Squadron Safety Officer, NATOPS Officer, Functional Check Flight Standardization Pilot, and Search and Rescue Officer, and was the 2013 HSM-51 Pilot of the Year.
In June 2016, CDR Chang reported to HSM-74, the “Swamp Foxes” at NAS Jacksonville, FL for his Operational Department Head tour. He served as Combat Element TWO (CEL-2) officer in charge embarked onboard USS NITZE (DDG-94) as part of the USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN-69) Carrier Strike Group supporting Operation INHERENT RESOLVE and contingency operations in the 5
Fleet AOR’s. While deployed he earned his Officer-of-the-Deck Underway qualification. Upon returning to homeport, he served as squadron Training Officer and Maintenance Officer and was chosen as HSM-74’s Officer of the Year for 2018.
Ashore, CDR Chang earned a Master’s Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, RI in 2015. Most recently, he was assigned to the Joint Chiefs of Staff Washington D.C. (J7, Joint Force Development Directorate) as the Program Manager for the Combatant Commander’s Exercise Engagement and Training Transformation (CE2T2) program overseeing a budget in excess of $425 million. He subsequently served as the Executive Assistant to the Vice Director, J7 supporting Joint Warfighting Concept Design and Joint Force Development.
CDR Chang has accumulated over 2,400 flight hours in Naval aircraft. His personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two awards), the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards), the Combat Action Ribbon, and various unit and service awards.
Last Updated: 18 July 2022