|Commander Joseph R. Darlak
Commanding Officer (July 2012 - November 2012)
Commander Darlak is a native of North Tonawanda, NY. He received his Commission following graduation from the United States Naval Academy where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1990.
At sea, his initial tour was Damage Control Assistant, Main Propulsion Assistant, Strike Warfare Officer, and Visit Board Search and Seizure Boarding Officer onboard USS JOHN HANCOCK (DD981). Subsequent sea tours include service as Chief Engineer, USS JOHN YOUNG (DD973); Material Officer (N4) for Commander, Destroyer Squadron Twenty-three; Executive Officer, USS STETHEM (DDG63); and Chief Staff Officer for Commander, Amphibious Squadron Five.
Ashore he served on Commander, Naval Surface Force Pacific staff as Force Weapons and C4I Installations Officer and on Commander, United States Pacific Command staff, Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate (J5) where he oversaw Theater Security Cooperation with 38 countries of South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Oceania. He also served as Acting Flag Secretary to Commander, Naval Surfaces Forces and on the staff of Commander, Dock Landing Ship/Amphibious Transport Dock-17 Class Squadron.
He assumed command of Mine Warfare Training Center on 09 April 2009 in Ingleside, Texas and completed command realignment to San Diego, California in March 2010. He was relieved in June 2011 and began afloat Prospective Commanding Officer training. He assumed command of USS VANDEGRIFT (FFG48) in July 27, 2012.
Commander Darlak earned a Master of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1997.
His decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Navy Commendation Medal (six awards), Navy Achievement Medal, and various campaign and unit decorations.