A native of Sugar City, Colorado, Commander Carlos A. Medina attended the United States Naval Academy, graduating in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering (with Merit). Upon completion of flight training in Pensacola, he earned his wings of gold as a Naval Flight Officer in November 1997 and reported to the EA-6B Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) VAQ-129 in Whidbey Island, Washington for initial training in the EA-6B Prowler.
Carlos A. Medina
Upon completion of the FRS in March 1999, he reported to the Rooks of VAQ-137 and completed two Persian Gulf deployments onboard USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV 67) and USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN 71). During this tour, he participated in Operations SOUTHERN WATCH and ENDURING FREEDOM and acted in multiple squadron roles, including TEAMS Officer, 1st Lieutenant Division Officer, Avionics/Armament Division Officer, and Personnel Officer.
From April 2002 to July 2004, Commander Medina returned to the Vikings of VAQ-129 as a flight instructor. In addition to flight instruction, he held the positions of Personnel Officer, NVD Program Manager, and FAM/NAV instructor. He attended the Electronic Attack Weapons School and earned his Prowler Tactics Instructor (PTI) qualification, and was a Carrier Qualification flight instructor.
In 2004, Commander Medina was selected to attend the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, where he completed his Master of Science degree in Astronautical Engineering in December 2006.
In April 2007, Commander Medina reported to the VAQ-138 Yellowjackets as a Department Head, where he completed two Western Pacific deployments onboard USS JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN 74) in support of Operations IRAQI FREEDOM and ENDURING FREEDOM. During this tour he served as Administrative Officer, Tactics Officer, and Maintenance Officer.
In December 2009, Commander Medina reported to United States Southern Command in Miami, Florida, including support to Operation UNIFIED RESPONSE, disaster relief to the Haiti earthquake. He served as a Joint Operational Planner in several different staff positions, including the Office of Strategic Communication, Standing Joint Force Headquarters, J35 Future Operations, and J53 Contingency Plans.
Commander Medina reported to the VAQ-142 Gray Wolves as Executive Officer in April 2012, and assumed duties as Commanding Officer in June 2013. He led the squadron during a nine-month extended combat deployment onboard USS NIMITZ (CVN 68) that included support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and response to the Syrian chemical weapons crisis. Following this deployment, he oversaw the retirement of the final Gray Wolf EA-6B and prepared the squadron for transition to the EA-18G Growler. Under his command the Gray Wolves earned the 2013 Commander, Naval Air Force, Pacific Battle "E" and Squadron Blue “M” Awards, the 2013 Chief of Naval Operations Aviation Safety "S" Award, the 2013 Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet Retention Excellence Award, the Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist pennant, the 2014 Association of Old Crows Unit Award – Navy (Aviation), and were the Pacific Fleet recipients of the 2013 Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy.
Commander Medina’s personal decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal (six Strike/Flight awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two awards, including Combat Distinguishing Device), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (three awards), and various unit and campaign awards. He has accumulated 2,696 flight hours and 864 carrier arrested landings in the EA-6B.