In January, 2003, following completion of P-3C Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) training at VP-30, he joined the Pelicans of Patrol Squadron FOUR FIVE (VP-45) in Jacksonville, FL. He held various positions in the squadron to include NAV/COMM NATOPS Instructor, Assistant Readiness Officer, and Readiness Officer, and earned qualifications as both Mission Commander, and Instructor Tactical Coordinator. While assigned to VP-45 he completed deployments to the Fifth, Sixth , and Seventh Fleet AORs flying missions in support of Operations ENDURING FREDOM, IRAQI FREEDOM, ACTIVE ENDEAVOR, JOINT GUARDIAN, DELIBERATE FORGE and various other operations supporting Fleet tasking.
Following his tour with VP-45, CDR Pope was assigned to Naval Personnel Command (PERS-43) in Millington, TN as the Initial Aviation Accessions Officer and Assistant VP/VQ Placement Officer from March, 2006 to March, 2008. While assigned to BUPERS, he earned a Master of Science in Operations Management from the University of Arkansas in August, 2007.
In March, 2008, he was assigned to the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN-72), home-ported in Everett, WA, as an Aircraft Launch and Recovery Officer (Shooter). While onboard LINCOLN, he served as Division Officer for both the V-5 and V-2 Divisions of the Air Department; deploying to the Fifth and Seventh Fleet AORs in support of Operations IRAQI FREEDOM and ENDURING FREEDOM.
After completing his tour on LINCOLN, he reported to the United States Naval War College in Newport, RI; graduating in February 2011 with a Master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies. In June, 2011, he reported to the Pelicans of VP-45 in Jacksonville, FL for department head duty. While assigned to VP-45 he deployed to the Fourth and Seventh Fleet AORs flying intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions in support of Joint Interagency Task Force – South, Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and various missions in support of Seventh Fleet tasking. His VP-45 billets included Command Services Officer, Future Operations Officer, Operations Officer, and Maintenance Officer.
In November 2013, Commander Pope reported to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Operations Directorate (J-3). While assigned to the Joint Staff he served as Assistant Deputy Director for Operations at the National Military Command Center, Presidential Strike Advisor, and Global Surveillance Officer.
Throughout his career, CDR Pope has accumulated nearly 2400 flight hours in the P-3C Orion. His personal decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal (Strike/Flight), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2) and various other unit and campaign awards.