Rear Adm. Steve Koehler is a native of San Diego and a 1986 graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder with a degree in physics. He was commissioned through the Naval Reserves Officer Training Corps (NROTC) and designated a naval aviator in March 1989. He holds a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College and is a graduate of the Joint Staff College and the Navy Nuclear Power Program.
He commanded the Pukin’ Dogs of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 143, USS Bataan (LHD 5) and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). His additional assignments at sea include tours in Strike Fighter Squadron (VF) 211, VF-41 and executive officer on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). During his operational tours he supported Operations Desert Storm, Southern Watch and Iraqi Freedom in support of contingency operations in Iraq, Operation Deliberate Guard in support of stabilization efforts in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Operation Unified Response which provided emergency disaster relief to Haiti and Operation Unified Protector in support of contingency operations Libya.
Koehler served ashore as an instructor pilot with VF-101 – Grim Reapers; placement officer at the Bureau of Naval Personnel; returned as executive officer of VF-101; military assistant/naval aide to the assistant secretary of the Navy (manpower and reserve affairs); chief of staff to Commander, Joint Task Force Horn of Africa in Djibouti; and the director of fleet/joint training at U.S. Fleet Forces Command. He assumed command of Carrier Strike Group 9 in June 2017.
Koehler has logged over 3,700 hours in F-14 Tomcats and F-18 E/F Super Hornets to include 68 combat missions. His personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Strike/Flight Air Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.