Captain Nathan A. Ballou is a native of Rochester, New York and graduated with High Honors from Illinois Institute of Technology in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. He was commissioned via the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps and earned his Naval Flight Officer wings of gold in 1998 with the VT-86 “Sabrehawks” in NAS Pensacola, Florida.
After completing F-14 training with the VF-101 “Grim Reapers” at NAS Oceana, Virginia, Captain Ballou deployed in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH during his first operational tour with the VF-211 “Checkmates” and was designated a Forward Air Controller (Airborne). He subsequently was selected to transition communities and earned his Naval Aviator wings of gold in 2002 from the VT-21 “Redhawks” in NAS Kingsville, Texas. He completed his initial F/A-18 training with the VFA-106 “Gladiators” upon return to NAS Oceana.
Captain Ballou returned to the fleet as part of the Forward Deployed Naval Force in 2003 at NAF Atsugi, Japan and made numerous deployments with the VFA-192 “Golden Dragons” supporting multiple operations in the Pacific theatre. In 2007, he returned to NAS Oceana and joined the VFA-131 “Wildcats” for his Department Head tour deploying twice in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and once for Partnerships of the Americas. Captain Ballou reported to the Headquarters of the United States European Command in Stuttgart, Germany in 2010 as the Executive Officer for the Intelligence Directorate’s Strategy Division. He attended the Joint Forces Staff College in 2012 and was designated as a Joint Qualified Officer. After completing his second overseas tour, he reported to VFA-106 for refresher training prior to checking aboard the VFA-83 “Rampagers” as Executive Officer during the 2013 deployment in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. Upon return from deployment, he executed numerous training detachments to locations including Alpena, Michigan, Eglin AFB, Florida, NAS Key West, Florida and Elmendorf AFB, Alaska. Captain Ballou took command in 2014 and led his squadron through a compressed work up cycle including detachments to NAS Key West, NAS Fallon, Nevada and embarked exercises prior to deploying in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE. During this deployment he led numerous strikes against ISIL targets including the first CVW-7 led coalition mission on New Year’s Eve 2016 where over 37,000 lbs of ordnance was expended. During his command the “Rampagers” earned multiple Battle Efficiency, Golden Wrench and Safety S awards. Following his this tour, he reported to Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic where he served as the AIRLANT Executive Assistant and Director of Aviation Training and Readiness. In 2018 he completed an IA deployment to Al Udied Air Base, Qatar to serve as the Battle Director for the CENTCOM CAOC. Following refresher training at VFA-106, CAPT Ballou joined the CVW-7 “Freedom Fighters” as Deputy Air Wing Commander in 2019 working up aboard the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN 72) prior to completing a record-setting 295 day global deployment supporting Operations FREEDOM SENTINEL and INHERENT RESOLVE while deterring regional aggression in the Middle East.
CAPT Ballou assumed the duties as the Commander of Carrier Air Wing SEVEN on July 23rd, 2020.
Captain Ballou’s personal awards include the Legion of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, four Strike Flight Air Medals, two Navy Commendation Medals and various meritorious individual, campaign and unit awards. Captain Ballou has accumulated over 3,700 total flight hours and 950 arrested landings in naval aircraft during his career with over 2,600 hours in the F/A-18.
Captain Ballou is married to Beth of Ypsilanti, Michigan and they reside in Virginia Beach, Virginia with their children Marissa, Nathan Jr. and Kennedy. Their oldest son, Ensign Alexander Ballou, is training as a student naval aviator at NAS Whiting Field, Florida.