|CAPT Michael Talaga
CAPT Talaga is a native of Gary, Indiana. Following graduation from Marquette High School in Michigan City, Indiana, he attended the University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio, and graduated in 1986 with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. He then attended Officer Candidate School, Newport, RI, and was commissioned an Ensign in February 1987.
CAPT Talaga's initial sea assignment was Sixth Deck Division Officer and Turret Officer in USS MISSOURI (BB-63), where he deployed and participated in Operations PRAYING MANTIS and EARNEST WILL. Following graduation from Steam EOOW School, he reported as Main Propulsion Assistant in USS HALSEY (CG-23) and completed a MEF deployment in support of Operation DESERT SHIELD. After attending Department Head School in 1994, he reported as Engineering Officer in USS ANCHORAGE (LSD-36) and deployed with the PELELIU ARG in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH. In 1996, he reported to Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet Propulsion Examining Board to complete his Department Head assignment as Space Examiner. Following the Executive Officer course in Newport, RI, he reported again to USS ANCHORAGE (LSD-36) in 2000 as Executive Officer and deployed with the TARAWA ARG and became one of the first ships to offer assistance to USS COLE (DDG-67) following her devastating attack in Aden, Yemen. In January 2001, he reported to USS PELELIU (LHA-5) as Operations Officer where he screened for Commander Command Afloat and completed an extended deployment in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and again with the West Coast's first Expeditionary Strike Group in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM to continue the Global War on Terrorism. Following the Commanding Officer course in Newport, RI, he reported to USS FORT MCHENRY (LSD-43) in May 2005 forward deployed in Sasebo, Japan with Commander Task Force 76. As Commander Task Group 73.5 flagship, he successfully completed two and a half pivotal Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training exercises and quarterbacked the Navy's first intra-coastal hull swap when he assumed command of USS TORTUGA (LSD-46) in April 2006 remaining forward deployed in Japan.
While ashore, CAPT Talaga attended the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA, from 1992-94 where he earned a Master of Science in Management with a subspecialty in Manpower Personnel Training Analysis; from 1998-2000, he served as Executive Assistant and Assistant Chief of Staff for Manpower to Commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific in Pearl Harbor, HI; and in March 2004 he served as Chief Staff Officer to Commander, Regional Support Organization, San Diego, prior to embarking on his Commander Command sea tour. After relinquishing command in December 2006, CAPT Talaga attended the Naval War College, Newport, RI, and completed his Joint Professional Military Education and received a second Master's degree in National Security and Strategic Studies. From April 2008-July 2010, he served as Military Assistant for Maritime Warfare Programs for the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation on the staff of the Secretary of Defense, Washington, DC and received his Joint Service Officer designation. From July 2010-June 2011 he served as Deputy, LSD/LPD-17 CLASSRON and Amphibious Readiness on the staff of Commander, Naval Surface Forces Pacific Fleet.
CAPT Talaga has been awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (four awards), Navy Commendation Medal (three awards), Navy Achievement Medal and various unit and campaign awards.