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Commanding Officer  |  Executive Officer  |  Command Master Chief


Commander Kelly Middleton
Commanding Officer

 A native of Hernando, Mississippi, Commander Middleton enlisted in 1987 as an Anti-Submarine Warfare Operator (AW)/ Rescue Swimmer. He served with the “Sea Snakes” of HSL-33 at NAS North Island. During this tour he deployed onboard USS STEIN (FF-1065) with the USS NEW JERSEY (BB-62) Battle Group in support of Pacific Exercise ’89. 

CDR Middleton graduated from the University of Memphis in 1998, earning a Bachelor of Arts in English. He was commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps Program and reported to NAS Pensacola, FL for flight training in February 1999. CDR Middleton qualified as a Naval Aviator in October 2000 and reported to the HC-3 “Packrats” for initial fleet training as a CH-46 Fleet Replacement Pilot.

CDR Middleton began his operational flying in August 2001 with the “Gun Bearers” of HC-11. While a “Gun Bearer”, he deployed with USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN-72) Battle Group onboard USS CAMDEN (AOE-2), participating in Operations Southern Watch, Joint Guardian, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom. 

CDR Middleton reported to HSC-3 in July 2004 as an MH-60S Flight Instructor. During this tour he was awarded his Master’s Degree in Global Leadership (M.S.G.L) from the University of San Diego and earned his Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) through the USMC Command and Staff College distance-learning program.  

CDR Middleton reported to USS NEW ORLEANS (LPD-18) in March 2007. He served as the Aviation Fuels Officer (MINIBOSS) and Aviation Facilities Manager (AIRBOSS) and qualified as Officer of the Deck (OOD) Underway, Engineering Officer of the Watch (Diesel EOOW), and Command Duty Officer (CDO).

CDR Middleton reported to the “World Famous Eightballers” of HSC-8 for his Department Head tour in December 2008. While with the “Eightballers” he served as the squadron Administration Officer and Maintenance Officer. He deployed in the Western Pacific (WESTPAC) in 2009 with Carrier Strike Group THREE (CSG-3) onboard USS JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN-74). During this deployment he participated in Exercises KEY RESOLVE, FOAL EAGLE, and NORTHERN EDGE.

Following his department head tour, CDR Middleton reported in February 2011 to the NATO HQ, International Military Staff (IMS), in Brussels, Belgium as a Situation Centre (SITCEN) Watch Officer and subsequently as NATO’s Liaison to the European Union Military Staff . While in the IMS, he directly supported Operational Commander EU Forces Althea, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

CDR Middleton has accumulated over 2,700 flight hours in 5 aircraft. His awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (3 awards), and Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal.