Dan was a stalwart in the VAW/VRC community. His leadership ability and his skills in the air were inspirational and serve as a role model for the community past, present, and into the future. The Wallbangers of VAW 117 have established an Annual Leadership award in Dan’s honor and to perpetuate the leadership qualities he embodied. The biography below depicts his distinguished career.
Born in Ohio and raised in Kentucky, Dan graduated from Eastern Kentucky University and entered the US Navy through the Aviation Reserve Officer Candidate Program in June 1968. He was designated a Naval Flight Officer in July 1969. His first squadron was VAW-114 where he made two West Pac deployments aboard USS Kitty Hawk. Following that tour he was assigned to VAW-110 as a flight instructor, and then returned to sea duty with the VAW-116 Sun Kings in March 1976 where he deployed aboard the USS Nimitz and the USS Forrestal. Off to Naval Military Personnel Command in Washington DC, he was the Officer Placement Officer for all VAW, VS and VRC squadrons and Carrier Group Staffs. He subsequently served as the Assistant Aviation Captain Detailer. Upon his departure from NMPC, he was assigned to VAW-117 where he served as Operations Officer, Maintenance Officer, Executive Officer and Commanding Officer. While serving VAW-117, he deployed to the Pacific and Indian Oceans aboard the USS Enterprise.
From VAW-117, he departed for Newport, Rhode Island where he received two masters’ degrees, one from Naval War College, the other from Salve Regina University. From there he returned to San Diego as the commanding officer of VAW-110. Following that tour he was assigned as the Executive Assistant to the Executive Commander in Chief of the US Space Command in Colorado Springs, Colorado. While in Colorado he screened for his major shore command.
In December of 1990, Dan became the Commanding Officer of NAS Norfolk, VA, one month before the onset of Desert Storm. Following his command in Norfolk, he returned to NAS Miramar as Chief of Staff, and subsequently Commander, Fighter Airborne Early Warning Wing U.S. Pacific Fleet. He retired after 26 years of service to the Navy in April 1994. However, he continued to work alongside the VAW-VRC Community for another 11 years working on the development of cooperative engagement capability while employed with Computer Systems Center, Inc. of Springfield, VA.
Due to Dan’s love of country, love of naval aviation, and love for the community, he joined with Tom Whitehead and Willie Williams to form the VAW-VRC Foundation. Dan created the Foundation’s vision and spearheaded the Foundation’s efforts to create a perpetual tribute and historical archive for the community.
Honoring Dan’s memory, and inspired by his great spirit and passion, the Foundation moves forward to realize his dream.