USS Fitzgerald
"Protect Your People"
Commander Dennis Velez
Commanding Officer (July 2009 -July 2011)

A native of Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, Commander Dennis Velez was commissioned an Ensign in 1992 after graduating from the United States Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering.

At sea, he served in USS STOUT (DDG 55) as Pre-Commissioning Gunnery Officer and later as Auxiliaries Officer, and First Lieutenant. After graduating from Department Head School in Newport, Rhode Island he served as Operations Officer aboard USS CARR (FFG 52) and USS GETTYSBURG (CG 64) where he also served as Air Defense Officer. He was then assigned to Commander Second Fleet/Striking Fleet Atlantic as Joint Training Officer and later as Military Assistant to the Deputy Commander where he was permanently embarked onboard USS MOUNT WHITNEY (LCC 20). While attached to Second Fleet, he completed his postgraduate work and was awarded a Masters in Science Degree in Information Technology Management. After attending SWOS Executive Officer course, he reported to USS DONALD COOK (DDG 75) in April 2005. During those sea tours, he participated in Carrier Strike Group and single ship deployments to Western Africa, the Mediterranean Sea, Adriatic Sea, Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Persian Gulf.

Ashore, Commander Velez served as Officer In Charge of Western Hemisphere Group Caribbean Area Coordinator in Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, where he provided logistical support to all Naval forces operating in the Caribbean and Latin America. He also acted as liaison officer between the Navy and the government of Puerto Rico following the Vieques range bombing accident. After completing his Executive Officer assignment, he served as Surface Placement Branch Head and Deputy Director for Surface Warfare Distribution for the Naval Personnel Command in Millington, Tennessee.

His personal military decorations include the Meritorious Service, the Navy Commendation, and the Navy Achievement Medals. CDR Velez is most proud of his appointment as an Honorary Chief Petty Officer by DONALD COOK’s Command Master Chief, CMDCM Steve Fontenot, in February 2007.


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