|RDML Cathal O'Connor
Rear Admiral Cathal O’Connor is a native of Indianapolis, Indiana. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in English and was commissioned through the Naval ROTC program. He is a graduate of the Naval War College and the Armed Forces Staff College and earned a Master of Arts in International Relations from Salve Regina University in 1996. He holds subspecialties in National Security Studies, Far East and Pacific Affairs, and Operations Research Analysis and Assessment.
A Surface Warfare officer, he commanded Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11/Task Group 76.4 in Sasebo, Japan, and USS Rushmore (LSD 47) in San Diego, California. Rushmore’s crew deployed to the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf and earned 17 awards for excellence. PHIBRON-11 Sailors made three amphibious ready group and four single ship deployments to the Western Pacific, executed three operations and conducted 21 exercises and engagements.
His assignments at sea include electrical officer on USS Farragut (DDG 37); electronic warfare officer on USS Truett (FF 1095); combat information center officer on USS Pharris (FF 1094); operations intelligence division officer on USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63); surface operations officer on USS Essex (LHD 2); operations officer for Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 5; executive officer on USS Tortuga (LSD 46); plans, exercise and tomahawk strike missile officer for Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 5/CTF 70 in Yokosuka, Japan, and chief of staff, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7/CTF 76, in Okinawa, Japan. He has participated in Operations Restore Hope, Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and Tomodachi as well as disaster relief operations following typhoon Morakot in Taiwan, typhoons Ketsana and Megi in the Philippines, and earthquakes in Padang, Indonesia.
Ashore he served as special projects officer at Fleet ASW Training Center, Atlantic; instructor at Surface Warfare Officers School; air defense and tomahawk strike missile officer at Joint Task Force Southwest Asia; Chief of Naval Operation’s speech writer; joint warfighting analyst on the Joint Staff J-8; project officer at Deep Blue on the Navy Staff; surface warfare division head and liaison to the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Policy) on the Navy’s 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review; deputy director for Plans and Operations (N31B) on the Navy Staff, and Chief of Staff for Commander Naval Forces Europe, Commander Naval Forces Africa, U.S. SIXTH Fleet.
Personal awards include the Legion of Merit, the Defense and Meritorious Service Medals, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal as well as other individual, campaign and unit awards.