CDR Joe Amaral hails from Englewood, Florida and is a 1996 graduate of U.S. Naval Academy, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Systems Engineering. Additional during his career, he received formal post graduate education in Aerospace Engineering and attained his Masters degree in Business Administration from Boston University. He completed Advanced Flight Training and was designated as a Naval Aviator in June of 1998 prior to reporting to Helicopter Combat Support Squadron THREE (HC-3) in San Diego, California for training in the H-46D Sea Knight.
CDR Amaral reported to Helicopter Combat Support Squadron ELEVEN (HC-11) in 1999 for his first operational assignment. During this tour he conducted two WESTPAC deployments with the USS CONSTELLATION Carrier Strike Group. While at the squadron he served as Legal Officer, Assistant Officer in Charge of Detachment ONE, and Squadron NATOPS Officer prior to being selected for Flight Instructor duty at HC-3 in the summer of 2002.
At HC-3 he transitioned to the Navy’s newest helicopter, the MH-60S Knighthawk prior to designation as an Instructor Pilot. During his time at HC-3, he attended the Navy’s Sea Hawk Weapons & Tactics Instructor training course at Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center in Fallon, Nevada and worked on initial efforts in developing the HC Wing Weapons and Tactics program until being selected to attend test pilot school in late 2003.
CDR Amaral was selected to be the U.S. Navy’s exchange student to Empire Test Pilot School (ETPS) located at Boscombe Down, England. Upon graduation from the year long program, CDR Amaral reported aboard Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Two One (HX-21), NAS Patuxent River, Maryland in January 2005 as an Engineering Test Pilot. He was actively involved in developmental flight test for H-60 Air Ambulance, Armed Helicopter, and Airborne Mine Counter Measure (AMCM) programs. Additionally, he led Multi-Aircraft Shipboard Dynamic Interface and Suitability tests. CDR Amaral was selected as Naval Test Wing Atlantic’s “Test Pilot of the Year” and the Naval Helicopter Association’s Region 2 “Pilot of the Year” in 2006. He was inducted into the Society of Experimental Test Pilots as a Member in 2007.
CDR Amaral returned to NAS North Island, San Diego for his Department Head tour as a member of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron TWO THREE (HSC-23) in April of 2007. He deployed in 2008 as Officer in Charge of HSC-23 Detachment FIVE, with the USS PELELIU Expeditionary Strike Group to the Persian Gulf and Horn of Africa in support of counter-piracy operations. During this tour he also served as Operations Officer and Acting Executive Officer.
Returning to Flight Instructor duty in January of 2010, he served as a Department Head aboard Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron TEN (HS-10), the single site H-60F/H Fleet Replacement Squadron. He served as Maintenance Officer and Executive Officer during his tenure at HS-10 before leading the squadron disestablishment effort. Directed by Commander Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Pacific, he planned and coordinated the transfer of aircraft, personnel, and mission to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron THREE (HSC-3) in July of 2012. During his time at HSC-3 served in several executive capacities to include Squadron Executive Officer.
CDR Amaral reported to Tactical Air Control Squadron ELEVEN in October 2013, as Detachment THREE Officer in Charge. He served as Air Resource Element Coordinator for Commander Amphibious Squadron Five and the 11th Marine Expeditionary unit during a 2014-15 deployment to the 5th Fleet AOR in support of Operation Inherent Resolve and National Tasking. In May of 2015, he was ordered back to HSC-3 to assume the role of Executive Officer. CDR Amaral has amassed over 3000 mishap free flight hours in 34 Fixed Wing and Rotary Wing aircraft. His decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal (second award), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (third award), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (second award), and various other unit awards and citations.