Rear Adm. Rod “Tool” DeWalt graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in May 1987, he entered basic flight school in Corpus Christi, Texas, completed training in Kingsville, Texas, earning his wings in August 1989. He then completed F/A-18 training with Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125 in Lemoore, California, in August 1990. In July 2008 he reported to the National War College, Washington D.C., where he earned a Master of Science in National Security Strategy and an Executive Masters of Business Administration from the Naval Postgraduate School.
DeWalt’s active duty tours include his first fleet assignment at VFA-146 where he completed two Western Pacific deployments with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 on board USS Nimitz (CVN 68) flying missions in support of Operations Desert Storm and Southern Watch. In March 1994 he reported to the Office of Military Cooperation Kuwait as an F/A-18 Instructor Pilot for the Kuwait Air Force and as personal advisor to the Kuwait Air Force Commander. In April 1996 he checked in to Marine Strike Fighter Training Squadron 101 in El Toro, California, as an instructor pilot and landing signal officer.
In October 1998 he transitioned to the Reserves joining VFA-201 in Fort Worth, Texas, where he served as department head and executive officer, deploying to the Mediterranean with CVW-8 on board USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In November 2006 he assumed command of Fighter Composite Squadron (VFC) 111 in Key West, Florida, and came back on active duty. In September 2009 he joined deputy chief of naval operations staff and led the Navy’s Air-Sea Battle Office until March 2011. From April to June 2011 he served as the CVW Navy liaison officer in the Coalition Air Operations Center, Al Udeid Airbase, Qatar. He then reported to Commander, Navy Region Europe, Africa and Southwest Asia in Naples, Italy, and served as the director of operations until coming off active duty in May 2012, while concurrently commanding the Navy Reserve Component of Commander, Navy Installations Command Headquarters (NR CNIC HQ) at the Washington Navy Yard.
Subsequently, DeWalt commanded the U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa-U.S. 6th Fleet Maritime Partnership Program Det. 513, Great Lakes; served as chief staff officer, Commander Naval Air Forces Det. 1094, North Island; as deputy commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic Reserve Component Commander, Great Lakes; and then commanded NR CNIC HQ for a second time before assuming his current role as deputy commander, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command in October, 2017.
DeWalt has accumulated 4,615 military flight hours, 45 combat sorties and 380 carrier-arrested landings. His decorations include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Strike and Flight Air Medal, Joint Commendation Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Joint Achievement Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, and various campaign and service awards.