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Commanding Officer HSM 71

CDR Paul D Will

Commanding Officer


Commander Paul D. Will of Berlin, Pennsylvania graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and was commissioned an Ensign in May 1997.  He reported to Pensacola, Florida for flight training and was designated a Naval Aviator in September 1999.

Following Fleet Replacement training in the SH-60B Seahawk, he reported to the Saberhawks of HSL-47 at NAS North Island.  Commander Will was part of the first HSL detachment to deploy onboard an aircraft carrier, serving as Detachment Operations Officer and Detachment Maintenance Officer during two deployments to the Arabian Gulf in USS CONSTELLATION (CV 64).  He also served as the squadron’s Quality Assurance Officer. 

In September 2003, Commander Will was assigned to Fleet Replacement Squadron, HSL-41, as a SH-60B Instructor Pilot.  He served as Schedules Officer, Curriculum Officer, and as the Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization Evaluator for Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

In February 2006, he reported to the USS HARRY S. TRUMAN (CVN 75) as Assistant Navigator where he was named the 2007 Commander, Naval Air Forces, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Ship Handler of the Year and the 2007 Naval Helicopter Association Shipboard Pilot of the Year. 

In June 2008, following transition training for the MH-60R Seahawk, he reported to the Spartans of HSM-70 in Jacksonville, Florida.  As a Plank Owner, he served as the squadron’s Maintenance Officer and Operations Officer and was named the 2009 HSM-70 Officer of the Year.

Commander Will was assigned to the Pentagon in support of the Joint Staff,   J-34, Antiterrorism/Force Protection division in June 2010.  During this tour, he served as the Executive Assistant to the Deputy Director for Antiterrorism/Homeland Defense.

He is a graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School, earning an Executive Master of Business Administration degree, and the Joint and Combined Warfighting School at Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia.

CDR Will reported to HSM-71 in February 2014 as the Executive Officer and assumed command in May 2015.

His awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (four awards with Combat Distinguishing Device), the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (three awards), and various unit commendations, service and campaign awards.