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Commander Daniel “Toof” Yates

A native of Libertyville, Illinois, Commander Yates graduated from Illinois State University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. CDR Yates earned his commission through Officer Candidate School Naval Station Newport, RI and reported to Naval Air Station Pensacola, FL for flight training in December 2008.   Completing initial flight training, he then reported to VAW-120 for training in the E-2C Hawkeye earning his designation as a Naval Flight Officer in May 2011.

CDR Yates then reported to the “Sun Kings” of VAW-116 in June of 2011.  While assigned to VAW-116, he deployed with Carrier Air Wing TWO (CVW-2) aboard USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN 72) in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.  During his time with the Sun Kings, Commander Yates graduated from both the Navy Fighter Weapons School as a TOPGUN Air Intercept Controller and the E-2 Advanced Mission Commander Course.  In his final year at VAW-116, Commander Yates was awarded the “2014 Pacific Fleet E-2 Hawkeye NFO of the Year (Afloat).”

In 2014, CDR Yates then returned to VAW-120 as an instructor NFO, served as the Air Intercept Control Phase Head, and earned his qualification in the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye.  Additionally, he graduated from the American Military University earning his master’s degree in Business Administration.  In 2017, he proceeded to COMNAVAIRLANT as Flag Aide to Commander, Naval Air Force, Atlantic.

CDR Yates went onto his department head tour returning to VAW-116 where he served as the Safety, Admin, and Operations Officer.  He deployed with Carrier Air Wing SEVENTEEN (CVW-17) aboard USS NIMITZ (CVN 68) supporting Fifth Fleet operations in Afghanistan and Syria; and operated off the coast of Somalia in support of Joint Task Force – Quartz.    
Following his department head tour, CDR Yates served as the OPNAV N98 Training Systems Requirements Officer responsible for the resourcing and planning of several major efforts to include Naval Aviation Distributed Mission Training and Live Virtual and Constructive training. 

CDR Yates has accumulated over 1700 flight hours and 250 carrier arrested landings.  His awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (3 awards), and Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2 awards) and various awards and unit commendations.

Last Updated: 26 October 2023

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