Commander James Thomas Executive Officer, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 4 More Details IF881 230808-N-XO184-1111.JPG SHARE IMAGE: Download Image Image Details Photo By: JoAnne Sorrentino VIRIN: 230808-N-XO184-1111 A native of Annapolis, MD, Commander James Thomas graduated from Mary Washington College in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Geography. He earned a commission from Officer Candidate School in 2006 and was designated as a Naval Aviator in 2008. He graduated from the University of San Diego with a Master of Arts degree in International Relations in 2015. Following initial qualification in the MH-60S, Commander Thomas’s first sea assignment was with the “Wildcards” of HSC-23, where he deployed on USS Peleliu (LHA-5) in 2010, participating in maritime security operations in the 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility and disaster relief operations in Pakistan. He was named the Naval Helicopter Association Region One Pilot of the Year for 2012. In 2012, he reported to Helicopter Sea Combat Weapons School, U.S. Pacific Fleet. While at the Weapons School, Commander Thomas served as a Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) and was responsible for coordinating pre-deployment training for Pacific Fleet helicopter units. He was named the Weapons School Instructor Pilot of the Year for 2014. Commander Thomas returned to sea duty in 2016, reporting to “Team Quicksand” of Carrier Air Wing Seventeen (CVW-17). There he served as Helicopter Element Coordinator, Personnel Recovery Officer, and Air Wing Operations Duty Officer, deploying on USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71). He returned to HSC-23 as a Department Head in 2018 and served as Maintenance Officer, responsible for a team of over three hundred Sailors maintaining over twenty MH-60S, MQ-8B, and MQ-8C aircraft. He qualified as an air vehicle operator and unmanned aircraft commander for the MQ-8B unmanned system and served as Officer-in-Charge of an embarked composite manned and unmanned aircraft training detachment on USS Coronado (LCS-4). Following his department head tour, CDR Thomas reported to the Joint Staff Strategy, Plans, and Policy Directorate (J5) in July 2020. While on the Joint Staff, he served as a political military planner for Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia and was named the J5 Action Officer of the Year for 2021. CDR Thomas has accumulated over 2,400 flight hours and has served on teams that hold various unit and campaign awards including three “Battle E” awards and the Humanitarian Service Medal. He has been awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and four Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal. CDR Thomas reported to the Legendary Black Knights of HSC-4 as Prospective Executive Officer in June 2023.