Commander Richard “Speed” Christoff is a native
of Youngstown, Ohio and a graduate of The Youngstown State University in 2000
with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science and Information
Systems. He received his commission
through Navy Officer Candidate School in 2002.
CDR Christoff received his aviator
warfare pin in August of 2004 through Advanced Helicopter training at NAS Whiting
Field, Milton, Florida. CDR Christoff
was assigned to his first operational tour with the “Proud Warriors” of HSL-42,
Jacksonville, Florida in July 2005, supporting
Standing Naval Forces Atlantic, Standing Naval Forces Mediterranean, and
Counter Narcotics Operations in South America.
He served as Assistant Training Officer, NATOPS Officer, and the
Detachment FOUR Maintenance Officer. In
2008, he earned the HSL-42 Squadron Pilot of the Year Award.
In March of 2009, Commander Christoff reported
for his initial shore assignment to the VX-1 “Pioneers” in Patuxent River,
Maryland. During his time at VX-1,
Commander Christoff was selected to attend the Seahawk Weapons and Tactics
Instructor (SWTI) course in Fallon, Nevada.
While with the “Pioneers” he served as the Squadron Weapons and Tactics
Instructor, MH-60R Operational Test Director, MH-60R and SH-60B NTTP Model
Manager, and the MH-60R and SH-60B Tactical Standardization Officer.
In March of 2012, Commander Christoff reported
to Commander, Carrier Air Wing FIVE (CVW-5) as the HSM representative where he
supported the “Saberhawks” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron SEVEN SEVEN
(HSM-77) as well as the “Warlords” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron FIVE
ONE (HSM-51). Significant to this tour, Commander Christoff was the first HSM
Representative in CVW-5 and Commander Christoff helped lay the foundation for
the current construct under which HSM squadrons integrate with Carrier Air Wing
FIVE. In 2014, Commander Christoff was awarded the Naval Helicopter
Association’s Shipboard Pilot of the Year award.
In May of 2014, Commander Christoff transferred
to the “Proud Warriors” of HSM-72. As Squadron Operations Officer, he deployed
in USS HARRY S TRUMAN (CVN 75) to the FIFTH Fleet AOR with Carrier Air Wing
SEVEN and Carrier Strike Group EIGHT, supporting Operation INHERENT RESOLVE,
while also participating in Counter-Piracy and Maritime Security Operations. In
2016, Commander Christoff earned the distinction as the HSM-72 Officer of the
In November of 2016, Commander Christoff
reported to United States Northern Command Joint Personnel Recovery Center at
Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida.
There he served as the J35 Personnel Recovery Coordinator and
Catastrophic Incident Search and Rescue Planner for the Northern Command Area
of Regard. The following March,
Commander Christoff screened for operational aviation command, and is scheduled
to report to the “Battlecats” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron SEVEN
THREE (HSM-73) as the Executive Officer in July of 2019.
Commander Christoff has logged over 2,500 hours
in multiple aircraft and helicopters and has been awarded the Air Medal, Joint
Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three
awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and various other unit
commendations and service medals.