COMMANDER AARON R. KELLEY
Commander Aaron Kelley of Orange Park, Florida, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and received his commission in May 1996.
Upon completion of flight training and designation as a Naval Aviator in November 1998, he was ordered to Helicopter Combat Support Squadron Three (HC-3) where he completed the fleet replacement pilot syllabus in the H-46 Sea Knight.
CDR Kelley’s first fleet assignment was in San Diego, CA with the “Gunbearers” of Helicopter Combat Support Squadron ELEVEN (HC-11) where he held billets as Division Officer, Asst. Operations Officer, Quality Assurance Officer, Detachment AOIC, and Asst. Maintenance Officer. While in HC-11, he flew numerous Vertical Replenishment, Logistics, Naval Special Warfare and Search and Rescue missions in support of Third Fleet units. He deployed to the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean on USS BRIDGE (AOE 10) and USS SACRAMENTO (AOE 1) in support of Operations SOUTHERN WATCH and ENDURING FREEDOM.
In August 2002, CDR Kelley was assigned to the “Pack Rats” of Helicopter Combat Support Squadron THREE (HC-3) as an MH-60S flight instructor where he served as the Aviation Safety Officer and the MH-60S Curriculum Model Manager during their transition to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron THREE (HSC-3) and the fleet introduction of the MH-60S.
During his next assignment in USS KEARSARGE (LHD 3), he reported as the Aviation and Afloat Safety Officer in October 2004. During this time USS KEARSARGE was awarded the Admiral Flatley Memorial Award for Aviation Safety, the CNO Afloat Safety Award, and the Secretary of Navy Safety Excellence Award.
As a department head he made the transition to his third helicopter platform flying the HH-60H and SH-60F. Joining the “Red Lions” of Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron FIFTEEN (HS-15) in August 2007, he served as the Aviation Safety Officer, Maintenance Officer, and Officer in Charge (OIC) HS-15.
Following his tour with the “Red Lions,” CDR Kelley reported to the U.S. Naval War College, College of Command and Staff in February 2010 and was awarded a Master of Arts Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies.
In February 2011, CDR Kelley was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV), Strategy and Policy Division (N51). As a staff officer CDR Kelley served as the Deputy Branch Head (N512) and the Navy lead for Personnel Recovery. Additional portfolios included Global Posture and Strategic Laydown.
In March 2011, he was selected for Operational Aviation Command and reported to the “Night Dippers” of Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron FIVE (HS-5) as Executive Officer in July 2012.
His decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3 Awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (3 awards), Combat Action Ribbon, and other service and unit awards. He currently resides in Virginia Beach with his wife, Pamela.