[ Commanding Officer | Executive Officer | Command Master Chief ]_____________________________________________________________________________
Commander Marcus Lopez, a native of Cumberland, Rhode Island, graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1995 as a Distinguished Graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and proceeded to flight school. He earned his Wings of Gold in November of 1997 and was selected to fly the F-14A Tomcat.
Upon completion of the F-14 Fleet Replacement Squadron in March 1999, he was assigned to VF-41, The Black Aces, deploying twice with Carrier Air Wing EIGHT (CVW-8). While aboard USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN 71) in 1999, he participated in the air campaign over Kosovo during Operation ALLIED FORCE followed by additional sorties for Operation SOUTHERN WATCH in Iraq. During his second deployment in 2001 aboard USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65), he participated in the opening bombing campaign in Afghanistan for Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
In December 2001, he reported back to VF-101 as an Instructor Pilot and Landing Signal Officer Phase Head. Following instructor duty in 2004, he was assigned to Carrier Air Wing SEVEN (CVW-7) as the CAG Landing Signals Officer and deployed on the USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (CVN 73) flying with VF-11 and VF-143 in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. In 2005, he transitioned to the FA-18 Super Hornet with VFA-122, and was assigned to VFA-22, The Fighting Redcocks in Lemoore, California for his Department Head tour. While assigned to The Fighting Redcocks, he completed two deployments and a surge in support of Operations IRAQI FREEDOM AND ENDURING FREEDOM. As Maintenance Officer and then Operations Officer, he transitioned the squadron from the FA-18E to the FA-18F.
Departing flying duty in December 2008, Commander Lopez was assigned to the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) in Chantilly, Virginia for joint duty as the Education and Training Division Chief. His team was charged with providing global education of Overhead Reconnaissance Systems. He was the first Naval Aviator to earn the NRO’s Certified Systems Instructor qualification. While assigned, he was selected as the NRO Director's Circle Award recipient and also earned the Project Management Professional (PMP) credential.
Commander Lopez has accumulated more than 3,000 flight hours and 750 arrested landings. His personal decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Strike/Flight Air Medal (seven awards), the Navy Commendation Medal (six awards, two with Combat "V"), the Navy Achievement Medal (two awards) and numerous campaign, service and unit awards. In 2006, he completed the Air Command and Staff College Correspondence Program, and in 2007 he earned a Master of Science degree in Management from Troy University.
CDR Lopez proudly took command of VFA-11 in August 2012.