USS Paul Hamilton
"The Courage to Prevail"
CDR James Van Nest
Executive Officer (July 2020 - August 2020)

A native of Texas, Commander James Van Nest graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2004.  His division officer tours include CIC Officer on the USS TAYLOR (FFG 50) and Operations/Executive Officer for PC CREW MIKE.  During these tours he deployed to 5th and 6th Fleet supporting Operations ACITVE ENDEAVOR and IRAQI FREEDOM, and participated in multiple NATO exercises. For his department head tours, he served as the Operations Officer onboard USS COLE (DDG 67), deploying in support of Ballistic Missile Defense of Europe and Israel, and as the Operations Officer at Destroyer Squadron TWO SIX, where he planned and executed three consecutive Neptune Warrior exercises in concert with the Royal Navy Joint Tactical Exercise Planning Staff (JTEPS). 

Before heading to his first shore duty, Commander Van Nest, served as a United Nations Military Observer in Liberia for six months in 2009. He then served as the Branch Chief for the NATO Communications and Information Support Squadron in Northwood, UK from 2009-2011.  For his last assignment he was selected as an Olmsted Scholar (Class of 2016) during which time he studied at Corvinus University Budapest from 2016-2018. His education includes a Bachelor of Science in History from the United States Naval Academy and a Master of Arts in International Relations from Corvinus University Budapest. Awards and decorations include the Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (two awards), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy Achievement Medal (3 awards) and various other service medals and ribbons.


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