Vice Adm. John Aquilino is a native to Huntington, New York. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1984, earning a Bachelor of Science in Physics. He subsequently entered flight training and earned his wings in August 1986. Aquilino graduated from the Navy Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun), the Joint Forces Staff College and completed Harvard Kennedy School’s Executive Education Program in National and International Security.
Operationally, he has served in numerous fighter squadrons flying the F-14 A/B Tomcat and the F-18 C/E/F Hornet. His fleet assignments include the Ghost Riders of Fighter Squadron (VF) 142 and the Black Aces of VF-41. He commanded the World Famous Red Rippers of VF-11, Carrier Air Wing 2 and Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 2. He has made several extended deployments in support of Operation Deny Flight, Deliberate Force, Southern Watch, Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
Ashore, Aquilino’s assignments include duties as an adversary instructor pilot flying the A-4, F-5 and F-16N aircraft for the Challengers of VF-43; operations officer of Strike Weapons and Tactics School, Atlantic; flag aide to the vice chief of naval operations; special assistant for weapons systems and advanced development in the Office of the Legislative Affairs for the Secretary of Defense; director of air wing readiness and training, for Commander, Naval Air Forces, Atlantic Fleet; and executive assistant to the commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command.
His flag assignments include director of strategy and policy (J5), U.S. Joint Forces Command; deputy director, joint force coordinator (J31), the Joint Staff; commander, CSG-2, director of maritime operations, U.S. Pacific Fleet (N04); and most recently, deputy chief of naval operations for operations, plans and strategy (N3/N5).
Aquilino assumed duties as commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet, Combined Maritime Forces in September 2017.
He is entitled to wear the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal, as well as several other personal unit and campaign awards. He has accumulated more than 5,100 mishap free flight hours and over 1,150 carrier-arrested landings.