Vice Adm. (ret) Starling began his last assignment as commander of Navy Cyber Forces at its establishment on Jan. 26, 2010. There he was responsible for organizing and prioritizing manpower, training, modernization and maintenance requirements for networks and cryptologic, space, intelligence and information operations capabilities. He concurrently served as commander Naval Network Warfare Command, where he oversaw the conduct of Navy network and space operations.
Starling is a native of Virginia Beach, Va., and was commissioned through the University of Virginia NROTC program in 1974. He was designated a naval flight officer in March 1975 and a naval aviator in March 1983, flying the A-6 Intruder with the Black Falcons of Attack Squadron (VA) 85, the Golden Intruders of VA-128 and the Milestones of VA-196.
Outside of the cockpit, Starling served on the staff of Medium Attack Tactical Electronic Warfare Wing, Pacific, as a student at the Naval War College, where he graduated with highest distinction and as the commissioning executive officer of USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). His first flag assignment was to NATO in Northwood, U.K., as the assistant chief of staff, Operations, Intelligence and Exercises, for the Commander in Chief East Atlantic/Commander Allied Naval Forces Northern Europe.
Starling commanded VA-145 aboard USS Ranger (CV 61) during Operation Desert Storm, USS Shreveport (LPD 12), USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), Carrier Group 8/George Washington Carrier Strike Group and Naval Air Force Atlantic.
Starling’s personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (5), Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with Combat V (3 Individual/ 3 Strike/Flight), Navy Commendation Medal (3/2 with Combat V) and the Navy Achievement Medal.