Captain James K. Dettbarn is a native of Virginia Beach, Virginia. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1986 on a NROTC scholarship receiving his commission as an Ensign upon graduation. He received his Wings as a Naval Flight Officer in 1988. After E-2C fleet replacement training with VAW-120, NAS Norfolk, Virginia, Captain Dettbarn was assigned to Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron One Two Five (VAW-125) "Tigertails" and served as the Assistant Operations Officer, Avionics Division Officer, Electronic Warfare Officer, and Training Officer. His deployments included support of US Coast Guard drug interdiction operations, Red Flag, and aboard the USS SARATOGA (CV-60) with Carrier Air Wing Seventeen (CVW-17) to the Mediterranean and Red Sea. He flew as an E-2C Mission Commander/Battle Manager in the Mediterranean, Operation Desert Shield, and combat missions during Operation Desert Storm.
After sea duty, in 1991, Captain Dettbarn was assigned to the Naval Post Graduate School Monterey, California to pursue a Master of Science degree in Operations Research, graduating in 1993. He provided analysis support for Commander Joint Task Force FOUR (CJTF-4), Key West, Florida as part of his thesis on interdiction aircraft scheduling.
In 1993, Captain Dettbarn transferred to the USS George Washington (CVN-73) as a Tactical Action Officer after completing Tactical Action Officer training. He quickly qualified as the ship’s Tactical Action Officer and the senior Force Anti-Surface Warfare Tactical Action Officer for the George Washington Battle Group. Additional qualifications included Combat Center Watch Officer, Ship Weapons Coordinator, Anti-Air Warfare Officer, Anti Surface Warfare Officer and CVW Strike Warfare Watch Officer. His deployments included support to Operation Southern Watch, maritime interdiction operations in the Arabian Gulf and North Arabian Gulf, and NATO exercises and operations in the Mediterranean Sea.
Captain Dettbarn was ordered to Commander Operational Test and Evaluation Force in 1995 as an Operational Test Analyst and Director. During this assignment he worked the operational test and evaluation of more than 10 weapons systems, including the Joint Stand-Off Weapon, the Rolling Airframe Missile, F/A-18 EF and the Integrated Defensive Electronic Counter Measure.
Captain Dettbarn was released from Active Duty in 1998 and affiliated in the Navy Reserve. He was assigned to the NR Commander Seventh Fleet, Detachment 111 in Fort Worth Texas where he served as the Assistance Chief of Staff for Communications, Deputy Assistance Chief of Staff for Communications, Area Air Defense Commander cell training officer, and the Joint Force Air Component Commander warfare cell training officer.
In October 2005, Captain Dettbarn transferred to the NR Commander Third Fleet Joint Force Air Component Commander Detachment 0170, serving as the Plans Officer. In Dec 2006, he received orders to NR Carrier Strike Group Five where he served as the Operations Officer and Chief Staff Officer. Captain Dettbarn has Commanded the Commander THIRD Fleet’s Maritime Air Operations Forth Worth Texas Detachment.
Captain Dettbarn has accumulated over 1,400 flight hours and over 200 carrier arrested landings on four different aircraft carriers. He has participated in numerous theater level warfare exercises such as Able Warrior, Able Focus, Blue Flag, Virtual Flag, Ulchi Focus Lens, Ulchi Freedom Guardian, Key Resolve, Northern Edge, Rim of the Pacific, Terminal Fury, Talisman Saber, Valiant Shield, numerous Joint Task Force Training Exercises and two Joint Expeditionary Force Experimentations. His personal awards include Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Strike/Flight Air Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (four awards, including combat V), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (three awards), and various unit and campaign awards.
Captain Dettbarn has a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles, a Master of Science degree in Operations Research from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterrey California and a Master’s in Business Administration for Sothern Methodist University.