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Commander Mitchell J. Hays

A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, Commander Hays graduated from Saint Louis University in 2004, earning a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering.  Following a two-year stint as an Engineer with The Boeing Company supporting F/A-18E/F and EA-18G development efforts, Commander Hays was selected for and commissioned through the Officer Candidate School program and reported to NAS Pensacola for flight training in December 2006.  He earned his Naval Aviator wings in 2008 and reported to the VQ-7 “Roughnecks” for initial fleet training as an E-6B pilot.

Commander Hays began operational flying in May 2009 with the “Shadows” of VQ-4.  While a “Shadow”, he made eleven operational deployments supporting multiple CJCS, USSTRATCOM, and Theater exercises.  Following his tour with the Shadows, Commander Hays reported to the “Rangers” of VT-28 where he briefly served as a Primary Flight Instructor and Assistant Safety Officer before selection to the United States Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS) at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland.

After graduation from USNTPS as a member of Class 145 in 2014, Commander Hays reported to VX-20 where he served as the E-6B Project Officer and Developmental Test Pilot for E-6B Block II airworthiness testing.  While at VX-20, he earned a Master of Science in Engineering from Saint Louis University in 2015.  Following this tour, he attended the Naval War College in Newport RI, graduating from the Maritime Advanced Warfighting School and earning a Master of Arts in Defense and Strategic Studies.

Commander Hays returned to the “Shadows” of VQ-4 in 2018 and served as NATOPS Officer, Training Officer, and finished his tour as the Maintenance Officer.

Following his department head tour, Commander Hays reported to OPNAV N98 (Air Warfare) in 2020 as the E-6B Requirements Officer, leading the Navy’s efforts to recapitalize the TACAMO mission on the C-130J airframe.  He was selected for squadron command in March 2022 and assumed duties as the TACAMO Weapons School Executive Officer in November 2023.

Commander Hays has logged over 2,400 hours in 22 different Type/Model/Series aircraft.  His awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and various service awards and ribbons.

Last Updated: 8 April 2024

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