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Rear Admiral Michael Wettlaufer

Rear Adm. Michael A. Wettlaufer is a native of Alexandria, Virginia. He is a graduate of Colorado State University with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and was commissioned in 1986 and designated a naval aviator in 1988. He holds a Master of Science in Aviation Systems from the University of Tennessee and Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College. Wettlaufer is a Navy Test Pilot School graduate (Class 104) and completed Navy Nuclear Power Training in 2008.

Ashore, Wettlaufer was assigned to Attack Squadron (VA) 42, Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106 for qualification training. He was an aircraft carrier scheduler for Commander, U.S. Second Fleet; served as a project officer, test pilot and landing signals officer with Strike Aircraft Test Directorate at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland; and was an Empire Test Pilots’ School fixed wing tutor and experimental test pilot on exchange with the Royal Navy in the United Kingdom. He was a Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group associate fellow (SSG XXI) and served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as an analyst for the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policy. 

At sea, he commanded the Dambusters of VFA-195, USS Denver (LPD 9), and USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). He deployed multiple times to the Mediterranean Sea, Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf flying the A-6E Intruder with VA-85 and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 aboard USS America (CV 66) including Operation Desert Storm. Forward deployed from Japan aboard USS Independence (CV 62) and USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) as a Dambuster department head and CVW-5 operations officer, he flew the FA-18C and he deployed to the Pacific as executive officer aboard USS John C Stennis (CVN 74).

In June 2019, Wettlaufer became the 28th commander, Military Sealift Command after serving as commander, Carrier Strike Group 3 from 2017 to 2019 including an around the world deployment. His first flag assignment was as U.S. European command deputy J5/8.

Wettlaufer has 3,800 hours flying 50 different aircraft types and over 900 arrested landings on 14 carrier decks and conducted developmental Joint Strike Fighter flight control trials aboard HMS Invincible.

He is entitled to wear the Defense Superior Service, Legion of Merit (three awards), Distinguished Flying Cross (combat V), Defense Meritorious Service and Meritorious Service Medals, individual and strike flight Air Medals (combat V) and various other personal, unit and service awards.

Last Updated: 10 May 2022


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