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Adm. Sam Paparo, a native of Morton, Pennsylvania, graduated from Villanova University and was commissioned in 1987. He is the son of a former enlisted Marine and the grandson of a World War 2 enlisted Sailor. He earned a Master of Arts in International Studies from Old Dominion University and a Master of Science in Systems Analysis from the Naval Postgraduate School. He is also a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College, Air War College, Naval War College, and the Joint and Combined Warfighting School. A U.S. Naval Aviator, he is a TOPGUN graduate and has flown over 6,000 hours in the F-14, F-15 and F/A-18 aircraft, with 1,100 carrier landings.
Operational command tours at sea include Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 195 with Forward Deployed Naval Forces, Yokosuka, Japan, deploying in Kitty Hawk Strike Group, and Commander, Carrier Air Wing 7, embarked in Dwight D. Eisenhower Strike Group and Commander, Carrier Strike Group Ten. On the ground, he commanded Provincial Reconstruction Team, Nuristan Province, Afghanistan, with the 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division and the 173rd Airborne Brigade. Other operational assignments at sea include Fighter Squadron (VF) 14, flying the F-14 Tomcat with USS John F. Kennedy and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Strike Groups, and VFA-15, flying the F/A-18 Hornet with USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS Enterprise Strike Groups. He served also on exchange duty with the U.S. Air Force, flying the F-15C Eagle with the 71st Fighter Squadron, deploying multiple times to Saudi Arabia and Keflavik, Iceland. In joint operational service, he was Battle Director at the Combined Air and Space Operations Center, Al Udeid, Qatar.
His shore assignments include the staff of Commander, Naval Air Forces, as F/A-18 training, readiness and requirements officer, and he served as commanding officer of VFA-106. He was Programming Division (OPNAV N80), Strategy and Resource and Requirements Review Board branch head. Executive staff tours include service as executive assistant to Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, executive assistant to the 31st Chief of Naval Operations, and director of Operations, J3, U.S. Central Command.
Paparo’s most recent assignment was U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet/Combined Maritime Forces, from August 2020 to May 2021. He assumed command of U.S. Pacific Fleet on May 5, 2021.
Last Updated: 24 March 2023
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