USS Makin Island
“Gung Ho”
Commanding Officer (March 15, 2019 - Present)
CAPT Christopher C. Westphal
Commanding Officer

Captain Christopher Westphal was raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He graduated from the University of Arizona in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems and was commissioned through the Naval ROTC program. He is a graduate of the Naval Command and Staff College and the National War College. He holds Master’s degrees from both institutions.

A SH-60B/MH-60R pilot, he commanded the WolfPack of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 75. In command, the WolfPack transitioned from the SH-60B to the MH-60R aircraft and from an expeditionary operational model to a Carrier Air Wing operating model with Carrier Air Wing 11 and the NIMITZ Carrier Strike Group.

He began his career as a Surface Warfare Officer as first lieutenant and main propulsion assistant onboard USS YORKTOWN (CG 48). After a lateral transition to pilot his sea duty assignments included tours with the Saberhawks of HSL-47 and the EasyRiders of HSL-37. As Officer-in-Charge of HSL-37 Detachment FOUR, he led the first SH-60B deployment aboard the experimental High Speed Vessel SWIFT (HSV 2). He was also recognized as HSL-37’s “Officer of the Year” for 2006.

Ashore, he served as an instructor pilot at HSL-41, the west coast’s SH-60B fleet replacement squadron; operations officer and global force management officer for the Secretary of Defense’s Orders Book (SDOB) on the Joint Staff J-3; executive assistant to the director of the programming division (N80) on the Navy staff; and the NORAD and U.S. Northern Command liaison officer to U.S. Pacific Command.

Captain Westphal assumed the duties as commanding officer of USS Makin Island (LHD 8) March 15, 2019.

His personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (2 awards), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3 awards), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal as well as other campaign and unit awards.


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