|CDR Brian A. Bethea
Commander Brian A. Bethea, a native of Fairmont, North Carolina, enlisted in the United States Navy in October 1992. He graduated from RTC Great Lakes in December 1992 as an undesignated Seaman.
From 1993 to 2000, Seaman Recruit Bethea would advance to First Class Petty Officer and serve aboard USS PONCE (LPD 15), USS KEARSARGE (LHD 3) and Naval Legal Service Office North Central, at the Washington Navy Yard. During his tour onboard KEARSARGE, he deployed to the Mediterranean in support of U.S. operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina, to include the rescue of Air Force Pilot Capt Scott O’Grady and to West Africa in defense of the American Embassy in Sierra Leone as part of Operation ASSURED RESPONSE.
In December 1999, Commander Bethea was selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program. He attended Norfolk State University and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and was commissioned as an Ensign in December 2001.
In July 2002, Commander Bethea reported for his Division Officer tours onboard USS SAIPAN (LHA 2), whereby he served 30 months as Boiler’s Officer, Main Propulsion Division Officer, Main Propulsion Assistant, Legal Officer and Force Protection Officer. During this tour, SAIPAN deployed multiple times to Fifth and Sixth Fleet and supported NATO's Standing Naval Forces Atlantic and Operations IRAQI FREEDOM, and ENDURING FREEDOM.
From 2005-2008, Commander Bethea completed a tour aboard Engineering Assessments Atlantic as a Propulsion Assessor. After completing Department Head School, Commander Bethea served as the Chief Engineer onboard USS KAUFFMAN (FFG 59) and subsequently as the Chief Engineer onboard USS MONTEREY (CG 61), from 2009-2012. While onboard KAUFFMAN, he completed deployments to the SOUTHCOM AOR in support of counter-drug operations, and UNITAS GOLD (50th Anniversary), and PANAMAX 09 exercises. While onboard MONTEREY, he completed the first ever European Phased Adaptive Approach Sixth Fleet BMD Deployment.
From 2012-2013, Commander Bethea studied at the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, KS completing JPME Phase I and two Master’s Degree programs with concentrations in Military Arts & Science and National Security Strategy and Policy. While at CGSC, he would also complete all requirements for the Joint Operational Planner - Additional Skill Identifier (ASI). From 2013-2015, Commander Bethea completed a tour aboard COMLOGWESTPAC/CTF 73 in Singapore as the Surface Operations & Plans Officer (N31/51). From 2015-2017, CDR Bethea served as Executive Officer onboard USS LAKE ERIE (CG 70). During his tour, LAKE ERIE would transition from the Navy’s BMD Test Ship, after 17 years, to a deployable 3rd Fleet asset and ultimately the NIMITZ Strike Group BMD Commander. His most recent tour was as Executive Officer onboard USS ANCHORAGE (LPD 23).
Commander Bethea’s personal awards include: the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal with four gold stars, the Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal with two gold stars and various other unit and service awards.