Commanding Officer
Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 79 Rota Detachment
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Commanding Officer
Cmdr. Brett Elko


Cmdr. Brett Elko, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, earned his commission and bachelor’s degree in physics at the United States Naval Academy in 2002.  He graduated from George Mason University in 2009 with a master’s degree in conflict analysis and resolution.

Elko earned his “Wings of Gold” in 2004 and has piloted the SH-60B and MH-60R helicopters throughout his aviation career.  His tours include detachment maintenance officer at Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 45; instructor pilot and assistant training officer at Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 41; plank owner and quality assurance officer at Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 78; and squadron maintenance officer and operations officer at Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 73.  Elko has gained extensive experience operating from aircraft carriers, destroyers, cruisers, and frigates in support of Third, Seventh, and Fifth Fleet Commanders.  At sea, he has served onboard USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), USS Mcclusky (FFG 41), USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72).
 
His assignments to staff billets include flag aide to the Commandant, Industrial College of the Armed Forces in Washington, DC, and the deputy assistant chief of staff for Requirements, Experimentation, and Innovation (N8/N9) at U.S. Third Fleet in San Diego, California. Elko’s joint duty assignment was at the White House where he served as the navy military aide to Vice President Joseph R. Biden from 2014 to 2016. 

Elko joined Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 79 as executive officer in November 2019 during the squadrons inaugural deployment onboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). He assumed command of the Griffins in May 2021.
 
Elko’s personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (3 awards), and the Navy Achievement Medal.

 
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