Official websites use .mil
Secure .mil websites use HTTPS
A native of Mercer Island, Washington, Commander Michael “PayPal” Austin graduated from Southern Methodist University in 2005, earning a Bachelor of Business Administration. Commander Austin reported to NAS Pensacola in September 2006 for Navy Officer Candidate School and subsequent flight training. He was designated a Naval Aviator in December 2008.
Commander Austin’s operational assignments include tours with the “Kestrels” of VFA-137 and, as part of Forward Deployed Naval Forces Japan, the “Royal Maces” of VFA-27 and the “Dambusters” of VFA-195. He has completed deployments onboard USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN-72) and USS RONALD REAGAN (CVN-76) in support of Operations ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF) and Western Pacific contingency operations.
His shore assignments include tours at Training Squadron TWENTY-ONE (VT-21) as a Selectively Retained Graduate (SERGRAD) instructor pilot, the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) as an Instructor Pilot, Adversary Officer, and US Navy subject matter expert for AIM-9 and Aerial Gunnery. Additionally, Commander Austin served as an exchange pilot with the BOLT division of the 422d Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base. While attached to the “Green Bats” of the 422d, he served as an F-35A Instructor Pilot, Operational Test Pilot, and Weapons Officer.
Commander Austin has accumulated over 3,000 flight hours in multiple aircraft, including the F/A-18A/B/C/D/E/F, F-16A/B, and F-35A/C. His personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal (Two Strike/Flight Awards), Air Force Aerial Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (Three Awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (Three Awards), as well as various other personal and unit awards.
Last Updated: 21 November 2023