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Commander Ben “Otis” Harris

CDR Harris is a native of Cleveland, Ohio and enlisted in the Navy in April 1999.  Upon completion of basic training, he completed AW “A” School and FRS training prior to reporting as an Aircrewman to the “Skinny Dragons” of VP-4.

While assigned to VP-4, CDR Harris deployed to FIFTH and SEVENTH Fleet Areas of Responsibility in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and OEF-Philippines.  Following a successful tour at VP-4 he was selected for Seaman to Admiral-21 and reported to BOOST/NSI in Newport, Rhode Island.

CDR Harris graduated from The Ohio State University in December 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies.  He completed flight training with VT-6 and HT-18, was designated as a Naval Aviator in November 2009, and completed initial training in the SH-60B Seahawk in September 2010. 

Following flight training, he reported to the “Vipers” of HSL-48 in Mayport, FL.  While at HSL-48 he qualified as Helicopter Aircraft Commander and deployed in support of counter-illicit trafficking operations in FOURTH Fleet with a follow-on deployment in support of counter-piracy operations with CTF-151.  Additionally, he served as Squadron Assistant Operations Officer.

In September 2013, CDR Harris reported to the “Airwolves” of HSM-40 for duty as an MH-60R Fleet Replacement Squadron Instructor.  While at HSM-40, he served as Student Control Officer, Student NATOPS Instructor, and CNAL NATOPS Evaluator.  During this tour, CDR Harris earned his Master’s Degree in Public Leadership/Multi-Sector Management from George Washington University.

In February 2017, CDR Harris reported to the Air Department onboard USS IWO JIMA (LHD-7).  While onboard he was deployed for HADR operations in support of Task Force Irma hurricane relief efforts in the Florida Keys.  Additionally, he completed deployments in support of Operation Inherent Resolve to the FIFTH/SIXTH Fleet AOR and Trident Juncture in support of NATO operations in the Arctic AOR.  He served as the Hangar Deck Officer and Assistant Air Officer (Mini-Boss).  Additionally, he qualified as Officer of the Deck (underway) and completed JPME-1 through the Naval War College. 

Following his LHD tour, CDR Harris reported to the “Vipers” of HSM-48 for his department head tour.  He served as the Detachment SEVEN Officer in Charge and deployed to the SIXTH Fleet AOR. Following deployment, he served as the Squadron Maintenance Officer, was recognized as the Squadron Officer of the Year, and received the Navy-Marine Corps Leadership Award.

Following his Department Head tour, CDR Harris served as the Personnel Recovery Chief and Deputy Chief of the Compartmented & Special Operations Branch (J-33) at USCENTCOM.

CDR Harris’ personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal (S/F), Navy Commendation Medal (three awards) Navy Achievement Medal (two awards), as well as various unit and service awards.

Last Updated: 17 June 2024

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