Commander Daniel P. M. delaCruz graduated from the United States Naval Academy earning a Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering and commissioned as an Ensign in the United States Navy in May of 2000. In July 2002, he was designated a Naval Flight Officer after completing Advanced Jet Training at Naval Air Station Pensacola, FL. He then received orders to report to the Navy Tomcat Fleet Replacement Squadron at NAS Oceana, VA, where he completed training in April of 2003 and was designated as a Radar Intercept Officer (RIO).
Commander delaCruz’s first operational assignment was a three-year tour flying F-14’s with the Fighter Squadron ONE ONE located at NAS Oceana, VA. He completed one combat cruise aboard the USS GEORGE WASHINGTON in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF). Post OIF, the entire squadron transitioned to the F/A-18F Super Hornet. Now in Strike Fighter ONE ONE, he earned multiple qualifications including a Strike Fighter Weapons and Tactics Level IV qualification and he was designated as a mission commander.
Following his first operational assignment, Commander delaCruz graduated through the Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor course and was assigned as a TOPGUN instructor at NAS Fallon, NV. At TOPGUN, he served as the Subject Matter Expert in both Radar Theory and F/A-18 Combat Systems. Additionally, he effectively trained over 200 Adversary, Air Intercept Controller, and Strike Fighter Tactics Instructors.
Post TOPGUN, he reported to Strike Fighter Squadron ONE ZERO TWO as the Training Officer in NAS Atsugi, Japan. During his two-year tour, he deployed twice aboard the USS GEORGE WASHINGTON in support of the Forward Deployed Naval Forces. As the Training Officer, he ensured the squadron and the air wing were prepared for any mission ranging from Operation ENDURING FREEDOM to nation building exercises within the Pacific Rim.
Commander delaCruz left Japan and reported to Strike Fighter Squadron THREE TWO in April 2011. He served as the Administration department head and Quality Assurance Officer. Additionally, he served as the Maintenance Officer where he led over 200 enlisted personnel through an accelerated work-up cycle and multiple high-level maintenance inspections. As Operations Officer, he ensured the squadron was prepared for deployment including an arduous sustainment period prior to cruise. CDR delaCruz deployed aboard the USS HARRY S. TRUMAN and flew multiple missions in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
His most recent assignment was to the United States Naval War College where he graduated with distinction and earned a Masters of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies.
He has been awarded three Navy Commendation Medals and two Navy Achievement Medals in addition to other awards and campaign medals. He has accumulated over 2100 flight hours, including over 1300 hours in the F/A-18 and more than 350 carrier arrested landings.
Commander delaCruz is married to the former Amanda Nowicki of East Chain, MN. They currently have 3 children; Andrew, Ava, and Aiden.