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Commanding Officer HSM 71

CDR Brandon C. Hunter


Commanding Officer


A Southern California native, CDR Hunter was commissioned through the NROTC program at the University of Colorado at Boulder where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering in December 2002. Additionally, he is a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Naval War College where he earned a Masters of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies in 2018.
Designated a Naval Aviator in November 2004, he reported to EasyRiders of HSL-37 in Kaneohe, HI for his initial operational assignment. He deployed with Detachment TWO with the first ever SH-60B detachment aboard HSV-2 SWIFT in support of the Joint Special Operations Task Force – Philippines, JTF-515. He subsequently deployed aboard the USS PORT ROYAL (CG 73) assigned to the TARAWA Expeditionary Strike Group in support of FIFTH and SEVENTH Fleet operations. His time with the EasyRiders culminated with his selection as the 2008 HSL-37 and COMHSMWINGPAC Pilot of the Year.
In 2008, CDR Hunter transitioned to the MH-60S and reported to the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center aboard NAS Fallon, NV. As part of the U.S. Navy’s Rotary Wing Weapons School, he served as a Seahawk Weapons and Tactics Instructor (SWTI) and Air Wing instructor in support of SWTI production and Carrier Air Wing training.
Following shore duty, CDR Hunter reported to the BattleCats of HSM-73 where he served as the SWTI and Squadron Training Officer during the squadron’s transition to the MH-60R and CVW-17. Following a successful tour, CDR Hunter was selected as the 2012 HSM-73 Pilot of the Year.
In 2013, CDR Hunter was requested to return to HSM-73 for his Department Head tour where he served as the Detachment TWO Officer in Charge, Squadron Maintenance Officer and Squadron Operations Officer. During his tenure, the BattleCats deployed in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE with the USS CARL VINSON CARRIER STRIKE GROUP.