Daniel J. KeelerCommander,United States Navy
Commander Dan Keeler is a native of Long Beach, California. He graduated with merit from the United States Naval Academy in 1998 with a degree in Political Science. Following flight training in Pensacola, Florida and Corpus Christi, Texas, he was designated a Naval Aviator in 2000.
After earning his wings, he reported to Helicopter Combat Support Squadron THREE (HC-3) for initial Fleet Replacement training in the H-46D helicopter in San Diego, California. Upon completion of the H-46D syllabus, he reported to Helicopter Combat Support Squadron FIVE (HC-5) in Andersen AFB, Guam. While at HC-5, he deployed aboard the USNS NIAGRA FALLS (T-AFS 3), USNS CONCORD (T-AFS 5) and twice on the USS ESSEX (LHD 2).
In 2003, Commander Keeler returned to HC-3 as a Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) Instructor Pilot. During this time, he transitioned from the H-46D to the MH-60S helicopter and helped re-designate HC-3 as Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron THREE (HSC-3). He served as the Legal Officer, NATOPS Officer and Commander Naval Air Forces MH-60S NATOPS Program Manager and Evaluator. During his instructor tour, he earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the Naval Postgraduate School.
In 2006, Commander Keeler reported aboard the USS PELELIU (LHA 5) and served as the Hangar Deck Officer and Assistant Air Officer. He qualified as Officer of the Deck (Underway) and participated in two deployments; one humanitarian cruise in support of Pacific Partnership 2006 and one WESTPAC/Arabian Gulf deployment in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.
After completing MH-60S refresher training in 2008, Commander Keeler reported to the BLACKJACKS of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron TWO ONE (HSC-21) in San Diego, California. He served as the Training Department Head before deploying with the 2515th Naval Air Ambulance Detachment in Camp Buehring, Kuwait. He completed his department head tour as the squadron’s Maintenance Officer.
In 2011, Commander Keeler reported to the Joint Staff in Washington, D.C. as a Protocol Officer to the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin E. Dempsey. He will report in August 2014 to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron FOUR (HSC-4) as the Executive Officer.
During his career, Commander Keeler has accumulated over 2000 flight hours, primarily in the MH-60S. His personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal (strike/flight), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3 awards), Army Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2 awards) as well as numerous campaign and unit awards.