Rear Adm. Samuel Paparo, is a native of Morton, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Villanova University and was commissioned in 1987. He holds 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. He is a “TOPGUN” graduate and has flown over 6,000 hours in fighter jets F-14, F-15 and F/A-18 and has made 1,100 carrier landings.
Operational command tours include Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 195 in the Forward Deployed Naval Forces, Yokosuka, Japan, deploying with the Kitty Hawk Strike Group; Commander, Carrier Air Wing 7, embarked with the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group for combat operations supporting Operation Enduring Freedom; and Commander, Carrier, Carrier Strike Group 10 . He has served as commander, Task Force 181 for Defense Support of Civil Affairs relief during Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Nate. He also commanded Provincial Reconstruction Team, Nuristan Province, Afghanistan, executing counter-insurgency operations in eastern Afghanistan with the 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division and the 173rd Airborne Brigade. Other operational assignments include Fighter Squadron (VFA) 14, flying the F-14 Tomcat during deployed operations in the Middle East and Balkans with John F. Kennedy and Dwight D. Eisenhower Strike Groups and VFA-15, flying the F/A-18 Hornet during deployed operations in Afghanistan with Theodore Roosevelt and Enterprise Strike Groups, and joint service with the U.S. Air Force flying the F-15C Eagle with the 71st Fighter Squadron.
His shore assignments include the staff of Commander, Naval Air Forces, as F/A-18 training, readiness and requirements officer; commanding officer of VFA-106; Programming Division (OPNAV N80) branch head, Strategy and Resource and Requirements Review Board Branch; Navy corporate fellow in corporate strategy at Lockheed Martin; and battle director at the Combined Air and Space Operations Center, Al Udeid, Qatar. Executive staff tours include service as executive assistant to Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command and executive assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations.
Paparo assumed responsibilities as Director of Operations, J3, U.S. Central Command in April 2018.