Commander, Carrier Air Wing SEVENTEEN
Captain LaBranche is a native of New Boston, NH. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in July 1979. While serving in the Marine Corps he earned his Bachelors degree in 1985 and concluded his service obligation January 1986 to pursue a postgraduate education, where he earned an MBA from Boston University. He subsequently was accepted to Aviation Officers Candidate School, graduating in February 1987 as the Distinguished Naval Graduate, and was commissioned an Ensign. His jet training took place in Kingsville Texas, was designated a Naval Aviator in September 1988, and assigned to VA-42 for training in the venerable A-6 Intruder.
Upon completion of A-6 pilot training in 1989, CAPT LaBranche deployed with VA-85, NAS Oceana VA, embarked in USS AMERICA (CV 66) and in 1994 with VA-196, NAS Whidbey Island WA, embarked in USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70). In October 1994, CAPT LaBranche transitioned to the F-14D Tomcat at NAS Miramar CA, and deployed in 1996 with VF-11, embarked in USS CARL VINSON, and again in 1998 with VF-11 flying F-14Bs from NAS Oceana VA, embarked in USS JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN 74). In 2004, he deployed as Executive Officer of VF-31 flying F-14Ds from NAS Oceana VA, embarked in USS JOHN C. STENNIS. He assumed Command of VF-31 in February 2005, and deployed onboard USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM marking the Tomcat’s final deployment. CAPT LaBranche’s team excelled supremely, earning the coveted Arleigh Burke Award, the Battle E, was Strike-Fighter Weapons Squadron of the Year, won the Golden Anchor, the EAWS Pennant and the Blue M for the year 2005. CAPT LaBranche reported to Carrier Air Wing SEVENTEEN (CVW-17), NAS Oceana, VA, onboard the USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70) in August 2010 and deployed from November 2010-June 2011 in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM in Afghanistan.
4,000+ Total Flight Hours 1,200+ Arrested Landings 300+ NVD Hours
Touro University – PhD (ABD) in Business Administration, (anticipated: 2012)
Naval War College – Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies (06/02)
Boston University – Master of Science in Business Administration (01/90)
Southern Illinois University – Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management (05/85)
Pesonal Awards and Decorations:
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal - 4 awards
Strike/Flight Air Medal - 5 Strike/Flight awards
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal - 2 awards
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal - 2 awards
Marine Corps Good Conduct – 2 awards
CAPT LaBranche is married to the former Catherine Crutsinger of Virginia Beach, Virginia. They have 3 children, Elizabeth, Richard, and Robert.