|Commander Joel S. Uzarski
Commander Uzarski was raised in Ada, Michigan, and graduated from Lowell High School in 1996. He attended United States Naval Academy earning a B.S. degree in General Engineering and his commission as an Ensign in May, 2000.
CDR Joel Uzarski took command of USS Gridley (DDG 101) in July, 2018. Prior to taking command, CDR Uzarski was Executive Officer of USS Gridley from December 2016 –April 2018.
Ashore CDR Uzarski has served in two billets. One as Test and Evaluation Officer for PMS 420 Littoral Combat Ship Mission Modules at NAVSEA as part of Program Executive Office Littoral Combat Ships from 2014 -2016. The other billet was at Missile Defense Agency (MDA) headquarters in Fort Belvoir, Virginia from 2011 to 2014 where he earned his joint officer qualification while filling multiple positions including executive officer to Deputy Director, Chief of Staff for Standard Missile-3 Block IIB missile Program Director, and Chief of the Navy Cell in Office of the Director for Warfighter Strategic Integration (DDW).
CDR Uzarski earned a Master of Science Degree in Computer Science and his Phase One Joint Professional Military Education (JPME Ph I) from Naval Postgraduate School in 2007. In 2012, CDR Uzarski attended Joint Forces Staff College where he earned his JPME Ph II certificate. Joel is Acquisition Corps Eligible as well as Level Three DAWIA certified in Program Management.
After attending Surface Warfare School Divisional Officer course in Newport, Rhode Island, CDR Uzarski served as Electrical and Operational Intelligence Officer on USS Fletcher (DD 992) while stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, from 2001-2003. Afterwards he proceeded to Norfolk, Virginia to serve as Training Officer on USS McFaul (DDG 74) from 2003-2005. After graduating from Naval Post Graduate School, CDR Uzarski attended Surface Warfare School Department Head course in Newport, Rhode Island, and then served in Pearl Harbor again as Weapons and Combat Systems Officer on USS Lake Erie (CG 70) from 2008-2011 where he earned 2010 Surface Forces Junior Officer Award for Excellence in Tactics. While Combat Systems Officer, he led the department in installation as well as the successful at-sea testing and Navy’s first live-fire demonstration using the BMD 4.0 combat system.
CDR Uzarski’s personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals and two Naval and Marine Corps Achievement Medals as well as various campaign and unit awards.