CAPTAIN JAMES S. BATES
Captain James Bates, a native of Bethlehem, Connecticut, enlisted in the United States Navy in 1987. Following boot camp he completed Naval Aircrew Candidate School, Rescue Swimmer School, and Aviation Anti-submarine Warfare Operator "A" School. After initial training in the SH-3H Sea King he reported to the "Sea Griffins" of HS-9 deployed aboard USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN-71). In December 1990 he again deployed with HS-9 aboard USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN-71) in support of Operation Desert Shield / Storm. At the conclusion of Operation Desert Storm, then Petty Officer Second Class Bates accepted an appointment to the United States Naval Academy where he graduated in 1995.
After commissioning, flight school, and initial training as an F-14 Tomcat Radar Intercept Officer, Captain Bates reported to the "Black Knights" of VF-154 forward deployed to Atsugi, Japan. While attached to the "Black Knights" Captain Bates executed deployments aboard USS INDEPENDENCE (CV-62) and USS KITTY HAWK (CV-63) in support of Operation Southern Watch. In March of 2001 Captain Bates attended the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School, TOPGUN. Upon completion he reported as a Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor to Strike Weapons and Tactics School, Atlantic (SWATSLANT) flying the F-14 Tomcat. In June 2002 the F-14 and F-18 weapons school consolidated as Strike Fighter Weapons School, Atlantic (SFWSL). Captain Bates served as the Forward Air Controller, Airborne (FAC(A)) Program Manager during his tour at SWATSLANT and SFWSL. In March 2003, Captain Bates deployed aboard USS CONSTELLATION (CV-64) as an augment FAC(A) with VF-2 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In September 2003 Captain Bates reported to the "Blacklions" of VF-213 as the Training and Assistant Operations Officer. After a successful tour with the "Blacklions," Captain Bates reported to the United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College at Quantico, Virginia in August 2005. Following ten months of intense training with the Marines he reported to the "Gladiators" of VFA-106 for transition to the F/A-18F Super Hornet. Upon completion of his transition in October 2006, Captain Bates reported to the "Blacklions" of VFA-213 for his Department Head tour serving as the Administrative Officer and Maintenance Officer. During his tour as Maintenance Officer, VFA-213 deployed aboard USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN-71) in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and was awarded the Carrier Air Wing Eight and Commander, Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic Golden Wrench awards. In November 2008 Captain Bates reported to VFA-106 as the F/A-18 A-F East Coast Fleet Replacement Squadron Training Officer. During this tour he attended the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, VA and completed the Joint & Combined Warfighting School. In March of 2011, Captain Bates reported to VFA-2 as the Executive Officer and assumed Command in April 2012 onboard USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN-72) while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. During his tenure at VFA-2 the squadron received the Battle "E" and Rear Admiral C. Wade McCluskey Award as the Navy's top Strike Fighter squadron. Following his Command tour, Captain Bates served as the Policy Division (J52) Deputy at United States Special Operations Command in Tampa, FL. Captain Bates assumed duties as Commodore for Strike Fighter Wing Pacific based at NAS Lemoore, CA on 7 December 2018.
Captain Bates awards include the 1989 Naval Aircrewman of the Year, the 2009 Naval Flight Officer of the Year, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, two Meritorious Service Medals, two I/A Air Medals with Combat "V", five S/F Air Medals, the Joint Forces Commendation Medal, six Navy Commendation Medals - two with Combat "V", two Navy Achievement Medals, and various unit and campaign awards. He has over 4,500 flight hours and 625 arrested landings.
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