USS Makin Island
“Gung Ho”
CAPT Thomas Ulmer
Commanding Officer

Captain Thomas Ulmer was raised in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. He was commissioned in 1996 through the Naval ROTC program at the Pennsylvania State University where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Administration of Justice. His first tour of duty was aboard USS Shreveport (LPD 12), serving as the Main Propulsions Officer and Weapons Officer, which deployed to the Mediterranean Sea and Arabian Gulf. In 1999, he reported as the Navigator and Administrations Officer aboard USS Ramage (DDG 61) and deployed to the Mediterranean Sea in support of NATO Operations in Kosovo.  His first shore tour was as the Flight Management Division Officer and Air Navigation Instructor at Aviation Preflight Indoctrination, Naval Aviation Schools Command where he qualified as a Master Training Specialist.

In 2003, he was assigned as Operations Officer aboard USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), forward deployed in Japan. During this tour, he deployed to Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific and conducted humanitarian assistance operations in Indonesia following the tsunami. He reported to Amphibious Squadron Four/Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group as Assistant Operations Officer in 2005. While aboard, the strike group conducted Hurricane Katrina humanitarian relief operations and deployed to the Mediterranean Sea and the Middle East where it conducted non- combatant assisted departure operations during the Lebanon/Israel conflict.  CAPT Ulmer was selected in 2007 as an Associate Fellow for the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group XXVII. In 2009, he reported to U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Future Operations as a Maritime Security Operations Planner, forward deployed in Manama, Bahrain. In 2010, he was assigned to the U.S. Central Command in the Strategy, Plans, and Policy Directorate as a Strategic War Planner. In 2012, he reported as Executive Officer onboard USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) and assumed command in May 2014. As Commanding Officer, he led Fort McHenry during a 7-month Middle East and Mediterranean Sea deployment which included Yemen contingency operations. During his command tour, Fort McHenry was awarded the Battle “E” for operational excellence and the Golden Anchor for retention. In 2016, he was assigned to the Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy, Policy as the Executive Assistant. He was selected in 2017 as a Federal Executive Fellow to the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the U.S. Naval Institute.

CAPT Ulmer’s postgraduate education includes a Master’s degree in Criminology from Florida State University. He is a 2009 graduate of the Naval Command and Staff program at the Naval War College with a Master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies. CAPT Ulmer reported to USS Makin Island (LHD 8) as Executive Officer March 2019 and assumed command in June 2020. His personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (second award), Joint Commendation Medal, Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal (fifth award), Joint Achievement Medal, and Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

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