Captain Matt Schnappauf is the Commander, Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet. He is a 1996 graduate of the United States Naval Academy and he holds a master’s degree in International Relations from the Naval War College in Newport, RI. He was the U.S. Navy Hudson Fellow to St Antony’s College, Oxford University during Academic Year 2015-2016.
Upon commissioning, Captain Schnappauf reported to flight school in Pensacola, FL and was designated a Naval Aviator in May 1998. Operational assignments include tours in both HSL-44 and HSL-46, where he flew in support of Operations Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom, including missions flown during the initial response to the attacks of September 11, 2001. He served as the HSL-46 Maintenance Officer from September 2008 to October 2009, when the squadron was awarded the Battle “E,” Sikorsky “Golden Wrench,” and Safety “S.”
Captain Schnappauf was the fifth Commanding Officer of HSM-70 from December 2013 to April 2015, during which time HSM-70 received the 2014 Battle Efficiency Award for cost-wise readiness, the 2014 Captain Arnold “Jay” Isbell Trophy for anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare excellence, and the 2014 Chief of Naval Operations Aviation Safety Award. The Naval Helicopter Association presented Captain Schnappauf with the 2014 RADM Tomaszeski Commanding Officer Leadership Award and he was the peer-selected recipient of the 2014 Navy Marine Corps Association Leadership Award.
Captain Schnappauf has served in numerous staff commands, to include: U.S. Navy’s Office of Legislative Executive Affairs, Senate Liaison; U.S. Second Fleet/NATO Striking Fleet Atlantic; U.S. Pacific Command; Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet; and the Navy Personnel Command. His most recent assignment was on the Navy staff, where he served as the MH-60R Requirements Officer for the Director of Air Warfare (OPNAV N98). He also had assignments as Executive Officer and Training Officer of HSM-40, the U.S. Navy’s East Coast MH-60R training squadron. He has over 3000 total flight hours.
Captain Schnappauf’s personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal (Strike/Flight), Joint Commendation Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, and numerous campaign and unit awards.