Rear Adm. John Aquilino is a native of Huntington, New York. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1984, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in physics. He subsequently entered flight training and earned his wings in August 1986.
Operationally, he has served in numerous operational fighter squadrons flying the F-14 A/B Tomcat and the F-18 C/E/F Hornet. His fleet assignments include the Ghostriders of Fighter Squadron 142 and the Black Aces of Fighter Squadron 41. He commanded both the World Famous Red Rippers of Fighter Squadron 11 and Carrier Air Wing 2. He has made several extended deployments in support of Operation Deny Flight, Deliberate Force, Southern Watch, Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom.
Aquilino’s shore duty assignments include duties as an adversary instructor pilot flying the A-4, F-5 and F-16N aircraft for the Challengers of Fighter Squadron 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 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 and deputy director, Joint Force Coordinator (J31), the Joint Staff, and Commander, Carrier Strike Group 2.
Aquilino assumed duties as director, Maritime Operations, U.S. Pacific Fleet, in April 2014.
His awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service 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 1,050 carrier-arrested landings.