CDR Richard “Gash” Rivera USN is a native of West Palm Beach, FL. In 1989 he was accepted to the United States Naval Academy where he received a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering in 1994.
CDR Rivera’s previous assignments include the following: In 1997 he was designated a naval aviator at NAS Kingsville, Texas. From there he transferred to NAS Cecil Field, Florida to complete his flight training and carrier qualification in the FA-18 Hornet. From February 1998 to July 2001, CDR Rivera completed two deployments with VFA-37 aboard USS Enterprise (CVN-65) and USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75). He then reported to NAS Oceana, Virginia as an Instructor Pilot in VFA-106. His tour with the “Gladiators” included serving as Schedules Officer and Strike Phase Head. CDR Rivera returned to the fleet in 2003 as Strike Operations Officer for Carrier Air Wing FIVE (CVW-5) forward deployed to NAF Atsugi, Japan. Following his staff tour, CDR Rivera attended and graduated from Naval Aviation Safety School and then returned to NAF Atsugi, Japan for his Department Head tour in VFA-195. Throughout his tours in the Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF), CDR Rivera completed several deployments in the 7th Fleet operations area aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63). He also completed Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) Phase 1 through the Air Command and Staff College distance learning program. In February 2008, CDR Rivera received orders to NATO Allied Command Transformation (ACT) in Norfolk, VA. Within the C4I Division, he held the positions of Experimentation Analyst and Combat Identification Subject Matter Expert.
Rich has attained over 2,600 flight hours and 660 carrier arrested landings. His decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Strike Flight Air Medal, three Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals (one with Combat “V”), as well as various campaign and unit awards.
CDR Rivera is married to the former Miss Santina Silvestrini of Dunmore, PA. They have two children: Evan and Sammy.