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Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 86 “Sidewinders”

Commander Nathan Staples

Commanding Officer, Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 86

Photo By: 231213-N-CO554-1001.JPG
VIRIN: 231213-N-CO554-1001
A native of Narragansett, Rhode Island, Commander Staples graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2006, earning a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. CDR Staples was commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps Program and reported to NAS Pensacola, FL for flight training in June 2006. He earned his Naval Aviator Wings in November 2008. In December 2008, CDR Staples reported to the VMFAT-101 “Sharpshooters” for initial fleet training in the F/A-18C. 

CDR Staples began his operational flying in August 2010 with the “Stingers” of VFA-113.  While a “Stinger”, he made two deployments aboard USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70), participating in Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and Operation NEW DAWN. 

CDR Staples attended TOPGUN Class 04-13 in summer 2013 and reported to the “Outlaws” of Strike Fighter Weapons School Pacific in September of 2013 as a Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor. While there he served as the Air-to-Air Mission Planning SME and the special programs department head. During this tour he also transitioned to the F/A-18E.

CDR Staples returned to the fleet in October 2015 as a Training Officer in VFA-97, the “War Hawks”.  While with the “War Hawks”, he completed one deployment aboard USS JOHN C STENNIS (CVN 74) in the 7th Fleet AOR.

Following his Training Officer tour, in February 2017 CDR Staples reported to the “Vigilantes” of VFA-151 as a department head. As a “Vigilante”, he completed one deployment aboard USS JOHN C STENNIS (CVN 74) in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE and served as Admin, Safety, Maintenance, and Operations Officer.

Following his department head tour, in November 2019 CDR Staples reported to US Africa Command HQ in Stuttgart, Germany, and served as a Joint Operations Center watch officer in the J-3 Directorate, and as the ACJ3’s Executive Officer. 
CDR Staples reported to the VFA-86 “Sidewinders” as Executive Officer in September 2022 and completed a deployment aboard USS GEORGE H W BUSH (CVN 77) in the 6th Fleet AOR.

CDR Staples has accumulated over 2,600 flight hours and 644 carrier arrested landings, including 41 combat missions. His awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Strike/Flight Air Medal (2 awards), Navy Commendation Medal (3 awards), and Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal and various service awards and ribbons
He resides in Hanford, California with his wife Andrea and their two daughters, Lyra and Zoe.


Commander Nathan Staples

Commanding Officer, Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 86

Commander Patrick Lakusta

Executive Officer, Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 86

Command Master Chief Joseph J. Montenero

Command Master Chief, Strike Fighter Squadron 86

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