Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron
One Two Six
NS Norfolk, VA
Commander Gastrell joined VAW-126 in September 2016 from his recent assignment as an Antiterrorism Operations Analyst on the Joint Staff, J33 Directorate.
A native of Burke, Virginia, CDR Gastrell was commissioned in 2000 via Officer Candidate School at NAS Pensacola, Florida and was designated a Naval Aviator in April 2002. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and a Bachelor of Arts in Latin American Studies from Duke University.
CDR Gastrell’s operational assignments include tours with VAW-121 as a junior officer, Carrier Air Wing Seven (CVW-7) as Landing Signals Officer, and VAW-125 as a Department Head. He has deployed and served on board the USS George Washington (CVN 73), USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), and USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) in support of OPERATIONs Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, Partnership of the Americas, and Joint Task Force - Katrina. He was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Association Leadership Award for Junior Officers while serving with VAW-121.
Ashore, CDR Gastrell served as an Instructor Pilot and Commander, Naval Air Forces (CNAF) Program Manager at VAW-120 Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS), then in 2010 as CNAF Force Landing Signals Officer. In December of 2013, he reported to the Joint Staff, J33 Directorate (Nuclear, Homeland Defense, and Current Operations) at the Pentagon, Washington, DC. He served as the J3 Antiterrorism/Force Protection lead providing Joint Staff, National Security Council, and Congressional leaders briefings on the full spectrum of Department of Defense current operations and crisis response.
CDR Gastrell has logged more than 2,600 hours in the E-2 Hawkeye and flown more than 100 combat missions with U.S. Navy. His decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, numerous strike flight Air Medals, Navy Commendation Medals, and the Navy Achievement Medal as well as other individual, campaign and unit awards.