Cmdr. Craig "Marbles" Searles
Cmdr. Craig “Marbles” Searles is a native of Virginia Beach, Virginia, graduating from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University with a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering and commissioning in May 2007. He was designated a naval aviator at Naval Air Station (NAS) Kingsville in February 2010.
In March 2010, he reported to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106 in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where he completed his initial training in the F/A-18C Hornet. Upon completion, he reported to the “Rampagers” of VFA-83, twice deploying onboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
In July 2014, Searles attended the Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor Course (TOPGUN) at NAS Fallon. Following his graduation, he reported as an instructor to Strike Fighter Weapons School Atlantic (SFWSL). During his time at SFWSL, he served as the director of tactics development, the east coast AIM-120 and advanced tactics and training program subject matter expert (SME).
Post completion of his weapons school tour, he reported to the “Sunliners” of VFA-81 serving as the training officer deploying aboard the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. In July 2018, he was assigned as department head with the “Rampagers” of VFA-83 where he served onboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and Operation Resolute Support.
Following his department head tour, Searles attended the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, earning his Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies.
Searles has accumulated over 2,400 flight hours and 500 arrested landings during his career in the F/A-18 A-F Hornet and Super Hornet. He is authorized to wear various personal, unit, and campaign awards, all a testament to the amazing officers and Sailors with whom he has served.