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EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Helicopter Maritime Strike

Squadron SEVEN EIGHT

 Commander Justin P. Eckhoff,

 United States Navy 
 
 
A native of Wilbraham, Massachusetts, Commander Eckhoff graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2003, earning a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Management Engineering.  CDR Eckhoff was commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program and reported to NAS Pensacola, FL in August 2003, where he initially completed a certificate of Information Systems from the Naval Post Graduate School prior to flight training.  He earned his wings as a Naval Aviator in November 2005.  Following training, he reported to the HSM-41 “Seahawks” in San Diego, CA for initial fleet training in the SH-60B Seahawk.
CDR Eckhoff began his operational flying in September 2006 with the “Battlecats” of HSL-43.  He deployed as Detachment THREE Operations and Training Officer aboard USS Jarrett (FFG 33) supporting Asia-Pacific partnerships, and as Detachment TWO Maintenance Officer aboard USS Rodney M. Davis (FFG 60) supporting Counter Narco-terrorism in the South Pacific.  While not deployed, he served as the Assistant Training Officer, Aircraft Division Officer, and Quality Assurance Officer. 
 
CDR Eckhoff returned to the HSM-41 “Seahawks” in October 2009 for instructor duty in the MH-60R.  He served as Assistant Operations Officer and NATOPS Standardization Officer and flew over 600 hours.  During this tour, he earned an Executive Masters in Business Administration from the Naval Post Graduate School.  In 2012, he was named the HSM-41 Instructor Pilot of the Year.
 
Following instructor duty, CDR Eckhoff returned to the fleet in October 2012 with the “Wolf Pack” of HSM-75.  He deployed aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68) supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.  He served as squadron Quality Assurance Officer, and helped the squadron earn the 2014 Golden Wrench Award, Battle “E” Efficiency Award, and Secretary of Defense Maintenance Award.
 
CDR Eckhoff reported to the “Easy Riders” of HSM-37 for his department head tour in April 2015.  He deployed as Detachment SEVEN Officer in Charge onboard USS Chung Hoon (DDG 93) as part of Carrier Strike Group THREE supporting Pacific Presence Operations.  Ashore, he served as the squadron Training Officer and Maintenance Officer. 
 
Following his department head tour, CDR Eckhoff reported to United States European Command, J-3 directorate as a staff officer in November 2017.  He served as the Special Operations Branch Chief, supporting compartmentalized and contingency operations in the European theater.  He selected for squadron command in March 2018 and took over as Executive Officer of HSM-78 in September 2020.
 
CDR Eckhoff has accumulated over 2,800 flight hours in the H-60 Seahawk.  His personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (four awards), the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (three awards), and various campaign and unit decorations.