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Captain Chad J. Heirigs
Commanding Officer, Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125
Captain Heirigs is a native of Lawrence, Kansas and a graduate of the University of Colorado, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs. Following graduation, Captain Heirigs was commissioned an Ensign through the Reserved Officers’ Training Corps in December 2000. In 2001, he reported to Pensacola, Florida for Aviation Preflight Training. He was designated a Naval Aviator in November 2003 having completed Undergraduate Joint Pilot Training at the 33rd FTS at Vance AFB in Enid, Oklahoma, as well as intermediate and advanced jet training at VT-9 and VT-7 at NAS Meridian, Mississippi. Captain Heirigs then reported to VFA-122 at NAS Lemoore, California for initial training in the F/A-18 Super Hornet.
Captain Heirigs’ first operational assignment was with VFA-154, based out of NAS Lemoore. During his tour with the “Black Knights”, he deployed aboard USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70) and USS JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN 74) in 2005 and 2007 supporting Operation IRAQI FREEDOM and Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. During his tour, he served as Power Plants Branch Officer, Head Landing Signals Officer, Mission Planning Officer and Pilot Training Officer.
He reported back to VFA-122 in 2007 for duty as an F/A-18 Super Hornet instructor pilot. He served as Schedules Officer, Assistant Strike Phase Head, Carrier Qualification Phase Head and Super Hornet Demonstration Team pilot. In 2010 he reported to the CVW-11 “Barbed Wire” team and served as Air Wing Landing Signals Officer. In 2011 he reported to the VFA-147 “Argonauts” for his Department Head tour. He served as the Quality Assurance, Safety, Maintenance and Operations Officer. He deployed in 2013 aboard USS NIMITZ (CVN 68) in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. Captain Heirigs then reported to the United States Naval War College at Newport, Rhode Island and graduated with a Masters of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies.
In 2015 Captain Heirigs reported to United States Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. During his joint tour, he was assigned to the Deterrence and Functional Plans Division, J5 Plans and Policy Directorate. He served as a strategic planner and analyst in the Support Planning Branch (J564). He then transferred to the Commander’s Action Group working directly for the Commander, U.S. Strategic Command. In 2016 he returned to the J5 Directorate working as a policy analyst in the Space Policy Division (J513). In 2017 Captain Heirigs returned to NAS Lemoore to begin the requalification training pipeline in the F/A-18 Super Hornet. In December 2017, he joined the VFA-151 Vigilantes as the Executive Officer and took command in May 2019. He deployed aboard JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN 74) on an around the world combat cruise in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE. Post squadron command, he checked in to VFA-125 for F-35C transition training and assumed command in September 2021.
Captain Heirigs has accumulated over 3,300 flight hours, 600 carrier arrested landings and 60 combat missions. His awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Strike Flight Air Medal (three), Navy Commendation Medal (three), Navy Achievement Medal and other unit, service and campaign awards.
Last Updated: 9 March 2023