Chief Staff Officer (November 4, 2013 - Present)
CDR Jesse Lankford
Chief Staff Officer

Commander Jesse A. Lankford is a native of Green Bay, Wisconsin. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in May 1996 where he was recognized as a Distinguished Graduate and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and a regular commission as an Ensign. Following graduation, CDR Lankford continued his education, earning a Master of Arts degree in International Relations with a focus on International Security from the University of Maryland; graduating in January 1997.

After graduation, CDR Lankford attended the Division Officers Course at Surface Warfare Officers School in Newport, Rhode Island before reporting to his first ship, USS ANTIETAM (CG 54) in San Diego, CA in 1997. On ANTIETAM, he served as the Damage Control Assistant and earned his Surface Warfare Officer and Engineering Officer of the Watch qualifications. While onboard, he deployed with the USS CARL VINSON (CV 70) Battle Group in support of the United Nations sanctioned, OPERATION SOUTHERN WATCH and participated in OPERATION DESERT FOX.

CDR Lankford’s next tour of duty was onboard USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63), forward deployed in Yokosuka, Japan. He served as Assistant First Lieutenant and Second Division Officer. While onboard, he earned his Tactical Action Officer qualification and participated in EXERCISES COBRA GOLD, FOAL EAGLE, and ANNUAL-EX. After this tour, he reported to Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, as the Assistant Flag Secretary.

In 2003, he attended Department Head School in Newport, RI, where he earned the Navy League Award and Top Gunner Award. Later that same year, CDR Lankford reported to USS BENFOLD (DDG 65) where he served as Weapons Control Officer and Combat System Officer while participating in the escort of USS RONALD REAGAN’s (CV 76) South American sail around and OPERATION UNIFIED ASSISTANCE in support of the 2004 Indonesian Tsunami relief efforts. He also screened for Lieutenant Command at Sea during this tour and was awarded the Navy and Marine Association Leadership Award.

Following his tour on BENFOLD in 2006, CDR Lankford was assigned again to Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet; in the Training and Readiness department, where he served as action officer for the Littoral Combat Ship manning and training programs and oversaw the training and equipment requirements for the Surface Navy’s Visit Board Search and Seizure program. During this assignment CDR Lankford was selected to serve in the Shore Installation Management (SIM) Specialty Career Path and screened as SIM Executive Officer.

CDR Lankford’s next assignment in 2009 was on the staff of Navy Region Southwest as the Deputy Director of Training, overseeing the training programs for the 10 naval installations in the region. While there, he helped establish Training and Readiness as an official Program of Record.

Following completion of his assignment at Navy Region Southwest in 2012, he reported to the United States Military Training Mission, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where he served as the Senior Joint Operations and Exercises Advisor to the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Defense. Working closely, with CENTCOM and the Saudi Arabian military, he coordinated Saudi participation in key multi-national exercises in the region and facilitated the Saudis hosting a Regional Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction Symposium; the first held outside CONUS.

In October 2013, CDR Lankford reported as Chief Staff Officer for Commander, Afloat Training Group Pacific.

CDR Lankford holds various campaign and unit awards. His personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (six awards), and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
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