Captain Chris “Gus” Ford received his commission from the Naval Reserve Training Corps at the University of Colorado, Boulder in December 1993. After being designated a Naval Aviator in November of 1996 at NAS Kingsville, Texas, he reported to VFA-125 at NAS Lemoore, California for initial F/A-18C training.
His first fleet assignment was with VFA-22 at NAS Lemoore, California reporting in December of 1997. During this tour, he deployed aboard USS CARL VINSON (CVN-70) flying combat missions in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH.
In December 2000, he transferred to VX-9 at NAWC China Lake, California and served as an Operational Test Director responsible for the operational testing and evaluation of two F/A-18E/F weapon systems.
CAPT Ford returned to sea duty in June 2003 reporting to CVW-9 at NAS Lemoore, California as the Strike Operations Officer. During this tour, he completed a 2003 WESTPAC deployment aboard USS CARL VINSON (CVN-70).
In February 2005, CAPT Ford reported to VFA-147 for his Department Head tour. During this tour, he completed the 2005 combat cruise onboard USS CARL VINSON (CVN-70) flying missions in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM and the 2007 combat cruise onboard USS JOHN C STENNIS (CVN-74) flying missions in support of Operations IRAQI FREEDOM and ENDURING FREEDOM. The “Argonauts” of VFA-147 in 2007 were awarded the Captain Naval Air Forces (CNAF) Pacific Fleet Battle “E”, the CNAF Captain Michael J. Estochin Award and the Safety “S”.
Following his Department Head tour, CAPT Ford was assigned to the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. He graduated in February of 2009 earning a Master of Arts Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies. CAPT Ford reported to VFA-115 as Executive Officer in September 2009.
CAPT Ford took command of VFA-115 Eagles in January 2011 in Atsugi Japan. In 2011, the Eagles executed a successful no notice squadron evacuation to Guam following the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 and Operation TOMADACHI. After receiving the order to return to Japan, the squadron embarked aboard USS GEORGE WASHINGTON for a WESTPAC deployment participating in Exercise TALISMAN SABER. The Eagles in 2011 earned numerous awards and accolades including two Squadron Top Hook awards, CVW-5 Golden Wrench Award, and the 2011 Bruce Carrier Award for Overall Maintenance Excellence.
In June 2012, CAPT Ford reported to USNORTHCOM in Colorado Springs, CO as the Homeland Defense Branch Chief in the Future Operations Division.
CAPT Ford has logged over 3,100 flight hours and has accumulated over 800 carrier-arrested landings. His decorations include Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, two Strike/Flight Air Medals, four Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medals, Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal and numerous unit and service awards. In addition, CAPT Ford was the 2007 Commander Naval Air Forces, Pacific Fleet Pilot of the Year.