The son of an 82nd Airborne paratrooper, Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin graduated from North Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. He is an Arthur S. Moreau Scholar and holds master's degrees in public administration from Harvard University and in national security studies and strategic affairs from the Naval War College. He is a MIT Seminar XXI fellow and a graduate of the Navy Fighter Weapons School, Top Gun.
As a career naval flight officer, Aucoin served in five fighter squadrons and commanded Fighter Squadron 41, the "Black Aces." The book "Black Aces High" recounts the success of his people in operations over Iraq and Kosovo during his command tour while embarked in USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). He commanded Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 forward deployed to Japan and embarked aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), and Carrier Strike Group (CSG 3), homeported in Bremerton, Washington, and embarked aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74).
Ashore, he has served in numerous assignments on the Navy and Joint Staffs. Flag assignments include deputy director, air warfare, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations ([OPNAV] N88B) and director, programming division (OPNAV N80). Prior to assuming responsibilities as commander, U.S. 7th Fleet in September 2015, Aucoin served as deputy chief of naval operations for warfare systems (OPNAV N9) from May 2013, in which he was responsible for the integration of manpower, training, sustainment, modernization, research and development, and procurement of the Navy's warfare systems.
Aucoin has flown more than 150 combat missions in support of joint operations in Iraq, Kuwait, Bosnia and Kosovo. He accumulated over 4,700 flight hours and more than 1,300 carrier-arrested landings. His personal awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross with "V" and the Bronze Star.