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 Commanding Officer

Ross “JR” Drenning
Commander Ross A. Drenning of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science Degree in English and was commissioned as an Ensign in May 1999. Following commissioning, Commander Drenning reported to Pensacola, Florida for aviation training. He was designated a Naval Aviator in May of 2001.
Commander Drenning’s first fleet assignment was in Atsugi, Japan from 2002-2005 with the Warlords of HSL-51.  As part of the Forward Deployed Naval Forces, he flew the SH-60B on multiple deployments to the 5th and 7th Fleet AOR in support of Operations IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF) and ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF) on USS GARY (FFG 51), USS OBRIEN (DD 975), and USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63).  
Commander Drenning then reported to the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center in Fallon, Nevada from 2005-2008.   He served as an Airwing, Mountain Flying, and Seahawk Weapons and Tactics Instructor, and was the first HSL Program Manager of the Rotary Wing Weapons School.  His next assignment in 2008 was with Carrier Air Wing TWO (CVW-2), as the CVW-2 Helicopter Operations Officer in San Diego, where he deployed in USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN 72) in support of OIF, OEF, and CTF-151 Counter-Piracy Operations.
In 2010 Commander Drenning reported to the Saberhawks of HSM-77 attached to CVW-2. There he flew the MH-60R and deployed as the Detachment THREE Officer-in-Charge onboard USS SHOUP (DDG 86) and USS STERETT (DDG 104) in support of CTF-151 Counter-Piracy Operations. He later served as the Squadron Operations Officer during deployment on USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN 72).  CDR Drenning was selected as the Commander Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing Pacific (CHSMWP) Tactician of the Year for 2011, and the CHSMWP Officer of the Year for 2012.
Commander Drenning reported to the Joint Staff, at the National Military Command Center.  He served as a Presidential Strike Advisor, and later as the Chief of Training for the Operations and Training Support Division of the J-33 Directorate.  
Commander Drenning assumed command of HSM-73 BattleCats in February 2017.  After completing a highly successful work-up cycle and deploying with Carrier Strike Group NINE on USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN 71) supporting operations VALIENT SHEILD and FREEDOMS SENTINAL, he was selected as the 2017 NHA RADM Tomaszeski Squadron Commanding Officer Leadership Award Winner. Under his Command, HSM-73 received several accolades to include the CNAF Admiral “Jimmy” Thach Award, CVW-17 Golden Wrench, and Safety S. 
In 2018 Commander Drenning reported to Naval Personnel Command as the Helicopter Aviation Commander Assignments Detailer, and was also hand selected to stand up the Navy’s My Navy Call Center. CDR Drenning finished his tour as Acting PERS-43 and Deputy Director Aviation Assignments / Air Combat Units Placement.
Commander Drenning has accumulated over 4,100 total flight hours and earned NATOPS qualifications in all five naval variants of the H-60 (B/F/H/R/S) aircraft. His personal awards include a Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Air Medal (Strike/Flight), the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (six awards), and various unit commendations, service and campaign awards.