Rear Adm. John Nowell is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in Ocean Engineering and holds a Master of Science Degree in Weapons Systems Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School.
Nowell's operational tours have spanned the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets to include forward deployed naval forces in Europe and the Western Pacific. He served aboard USS Callaghan (DDG 994), USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51), and USS The Sullivans (DDG 68). He commanded USS Porter (DDG 78), Destroyer Squadron 60/Task Force 65, and the BONHOMME RICHARD Expeditionary Strike Group. He also served as the maritime force commander (Combined Task Force-Bravo) for Joint Task Force Lebanon, Commander of Task Force West and Central Africa (CTF-365), and he led a multi-national force of ships, submarines, aircraft, expeditionary partnership teams and land-based forces conducting the inaugural Africa Partnership Station deployment.
Shore assignments included duty on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations in the Surface Warfare Directorate (N86) developing the Navy Theater Ballistic Missile Defense program, and as executive assistant to the Director of Theater Air Warfare (N865); chief of the Theater Air and Missile Defense Branch (J-38) in the Operations Directorate of the Joint Staff; and two tours at the Navy Personnel Command in Millington, TN, where he served as the head of the Washington Placement Branch (Pers-441), executive assistant to the Commander, Navy Personnel Command/Naval Personnel Development Command, and Director, Surface Warfare Distribution Division (Pers-41). Nowell also served as director of the Navy Senate Liaison Office in Washington D.C.
His Flag Office tours include serving as Chief of Staff and Director, Strategy, Resources, and Plans (N5/8) on the staff of Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. SIXTH Fleet in Naples, Italy and Commander, Amphibious Force SEVENTH Fleet/Expeditionary Strike Group SEVEN/Task Force 76 in Okinawa, Japan. He currently serves on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations as the Navy's director of Military Personnel Plans and Policy (N13).
Personal awards include the Bronze Star, Legion of Merit (six awards), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), and various other personal, unit and campaign awards. Every ship that he has been assigned to has won the Battle Efficiency "E" award, and USS Porter also won the ASW "Bloodhound" award. Nowell was also the recipient of the 1987 Pacific Fleet Junior Officer Shiphandling Award.