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Commanding Officer
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Commanding Officer
Capt. John "Pumbaa" Riley 

A native of New Hampton, Iowa, Capt. John “Pumbaa” Riley graduated from Iowa State University in May 2000, earning a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and commission through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps.  After primary and intermediate flight training at Training Squadron (VT) 4 in NAS Pensacola, Florida, and advanced flight training at Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 120 in Norfolk, Virginia, he earned his Naval Flight Officer wings of gold in March, 2002.

Riley’s sea assignments include two tours at VAW-115 with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5; first aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), July 2002 to July 2005, and then as the squadron’s weapons and tactics instructor aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) and USS George Washington (CVN 73), July 2008 to December 2009.  His department head tour was at VAW-124 with CVW-8 aboard the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), May 2011 to June 2013.  Riley’s last sea duty assignment was at VAW-113 as the executive officer and commanding officer with CVW-2 aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), February 2017 to December 2019.

Riley’s shore assignments started with the Carrier Airborne Early Warning Weapons School (CAEWWS) at the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center in Fallon, Nevada, July 2005 to May 2008.  His second shore tour was at the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, December 2009 to January 2011, where he also earned a Master of Science in Adult and Continuing Education from Kansas State University.  His third shore tour was at the Joint Staff J7 Deployable Training Division in Suffolk, Virginia.  His post-command tour was at OPNAV N980S aboard the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.  He reported to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 1 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, as chief operational test director in August of 2022, and assumed command on September 14, 2023.

Throughout his career, Riley has logged more than 2,800 flight hours in eight Navy aircraft, with 630 carrier arrested landings and 50 combat sorties.  His personal decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (2), Air Medal (Strike/Flight), Navy Commendation Medal (5, one Combat “V”), Navy Achievement Medal (2), and various other individual, unit, and campaign awards.  |  |  Navy FOIA  |  DoD Accessibility/Section 508  |  No Fear Act  |  Open Government  |  Plain Writing Act  |  Veterans Crisis Line  |  VA Vet Center  |  FVAPDoD Safe Helpline  |  Navy SAPR  |  NCIS Tips  |  Site Map  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Webmaster | Information quality | Public Use notice | Useful Links
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