Cmdr. Santico "Tico" Valenzuela
Cmdr. Valenzuela hails from Phoenix, Arizona. Following high school, he enlisted in the Navy in 1996 and attended the Broadened Opportunity for Officer Selection and Training (BOOST) program. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration Operations Management from the University of Arizona and received his commission through Navy ROTC in December 2001. He is a graduate from the Florida Institute of Technology where he earned his Master of Business Administration, Information Technology Management degree.
Valenzuela started his career as a Surface Warfare Officer as the Assistant Navigator and Supply Officer in USS FALCON (MHC 59). After his selection for flight training, he earned his "Wings of Gold" and was designated a Naval Aviator in 2006.
At sea, Valenzuela commanded the Chargers of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron FOURTEEN (HSC-14) providing warfighting excellence to Commander, Carrier Air Wing NINE (CVW-9) in support of Commander, Carrier Strike Group THREE (CSG-3). His other sea tours include two tours forward deployed to Guam with the Island Knights of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron TWO FIVE (HSC-25). As Detachment Officer-in-Charge on USS BONHOMME RICHARD (LHD 6) he employed HSC’s first Forward Deployed Naval Forces three aircraft Armed Helicopter proof of concept in support of Expeditionary Strike Group THREE’s (ESG-3) Fall 2012 Patrol. He also served as Officer-in-Charge in the 2515th Naval Air Ambulance Detachment where he flew Air Ambulance missions throughout Kuwait and Southern Iraq in support of U. S. Army Central Command and Multi-National Division-South.
Ashore, Valenzuela most recently served as the Deputy Executive Assistant to the Vice Chief of Naval Operations. He has served in the J5 as the Deputy Division Chief for Strategy and Policy at United States Strategic Command, Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. He has also served as an Assignments Officer and Assistant Aviation Officer Community Manager at Navy Personnel Command (PERS-43).
Valenzuela’s personal decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Air Medal (two strike/flight awards), the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (four awards), the Army Commendation Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, as well as various campaign and unit awards.
He assumed command of the Fleet Angels of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron TWO (HSC-2) in April 2022.