Cmdr. Cristobal Yera
Cmdr. Cristobal Yera is originally from Newport, Rhode Island, however, as a “Navy Brat,” he considers himself a native of Norfolk, Virginia. He received his commission as part of the United States Naval Academy Class of 2003, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Political Science. He also holds a Master of Arts in Defense and Strategic Studies from the United States Naval War College.
Following the completion of flight training, Yera received his wings in July of 2005, and began his career as an unrestricted naval aviator at Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 3, where he reported as a fleet replacement pilot in the MH-60S. His first fleet assignment was with the “Chargers” of HSC-26, where he served as the aviation life support systems (ALSS) and power plants division officer, pilot training officer, and NATOPS Officer. While at HSC-26, Yera made two deployments to the 5th Fleet area of responsibility in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Following his first sea tour, Yera was selected to attend the U.S. Navy Rotary Wing Weapons School at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada, earning qualification as a Seahawk Weapons and Tactics Instructor (SWTI). At the completion of the SEAWOLF course, Yera reported to Helicopter Sea Combat Weapons School Atlantic, where he served as the expeditionary helicopter advanced readiness program manager, and operations officer, while also serving as the aircraft survivability equipment and LINK-16 subject matter expert. At the completion of his instructor duty, he returned to HSC-26 for his second sea tour, serving as the squadron WTI and training department head.
Upon completing his tour at HSC-26, Yera reported to HSC-28 as the Detachment 5 officer-in-charge, deployed on board USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7). While attached to the HSC-28, “Dragon Whales,” Yera also served as the training department head and operations department head, contributing to the squadron’s back-to-back Battle Efficiency Awards.
Following his tour of duty at HSC-28, Yera reported as an exercise support officer on the Joint Staff J7 in Suffolk, Virginia, providing modeling and simulation, and communications planning support to various combatant command exercise events, including Exercise Vigilant Shield, Judicious Response/Epic Guardian, and Cyber Guard/Cyber Flag. During his time on the Joint Staff, Yera became a graduate of the Joint Forces Staff College, Joint and Combined Warfighting School, earning his designation as a joint qualified officer. At the conclusion of his joint duty assignment, Yera reported to MCAS New River, North Carolina where he completed training in the MV-22B Osprey, and where he took command of Naval Aviation Training Support Group (NATSG), New River in January 2020. As the commanding officer of NATSG, he is responsible for overseeing aircrew and maintenance training in support of the naval aviation enterprise’s C-2A to CMV-22B transition.
Yera’s personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (four awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and various campaign, unit, and service awards. He has accumulated over 2200 flight hours in various fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft.