His initial operational tour was with Helicopter Combat Support Squadron EIGHT (HC-8) in Norfolk, Virginia, flying the H-46D Sea Knight. Operational deployments include missions in support of combat operations in Kosovo, Operation SOUTHERN WATCH, and humanitarian relief operations in Western Africa. Captain Vandegrift was subsequently assigned as an H-46D FRS Instructor Pilot at Helicopter Combat Support Squadron THREE in San Diego, California. In 2001, Captain Vandegrift was assigned to serve as Aide to Commander, Carrier Strike Group FOUR (CSG-4). Following this assignment, he attended the College of Naval Command and Staff in Newport Rhode Island, and was awarded a master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies.
After completing MH-60S transition training, Captain Vandegrift reported to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron TWO SIX (HSC-26) where he served as Officer-in-Charge and Department Head. Operational deployments include the establishment of FIFTH FLEET forward deployed detachment flying missions in support of Operation IRAQI and ENDURING FREEDOM and an expeditionary deployment to Islamabad, Pakistan.
In 2007, Captain Vandegrift was assigned to U.S. Joint Forces Command J3, where he served as the Global Force Management future operations lead planner. There he planned major force allocations in support of surge operations for both Operation IRAQI and ENDURING FREEDOM.
Captain Vandegrift then reported to HSC-28 where he assumed duties as Executive Officer in 2009, and command in 2010. Under his command, HSC-28 was awarded consecutive Battle Efficiency awards, its sixth and seventh consecutive retention excellence awards, and established and deployed its first armed helicopter capability.
In April 2013, following service as Executive Assistant to Commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command / U.S. TENTH Fleet, Captain Vandegrift assumed command of HSC-2, the MH-60S Fleet Replacement Squadron. He was then selected for Major Command at Sea and reported to the USS NEW YORK (LPD 21) as Executive Officer in April 2015.
Captain Vandegrift is designated a Joint Specialty Officer and his decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), the Navy Commendation Medal (five awards), the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Navy Achievement medal and various unit and campaign decorations. He has accumulated over 2600 flight hours. He and his wife Elizabeth have four children.
Captain Vandegrift became USS NEW YORK’s sixth commanding officer in October 2016.