Rear Adm. Stephen Tedford, a native of Huntington, New York, was commissioned an Ensign through Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps, and was designated a Naval Aviator in 1993. He received a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Pennsylvania State University and graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS) Cooperative Program at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. Upon graduation from USNTPS, Tedford earned a Master’s of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering.
During his operational tours, Tedford served as commanding officer of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 30 (VX-30) in Point Mugu, California, where more than 13,000 flight hours in the P-3C Orion, C-130 Hercules and S-3B Viking aircraft were executed during his tenure. Other tours included Patrol Squadron 9, located at Barbers Point, Hawaii, and Patrol Squadron 47 in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, during which time he deployed to Diego Garcia; Misawa, Japan; and Bahrain. Tedford also deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet where he executed 250 combat flight hours in support of Operations Southern Watch and Iraqi Freedom.
During ashore tours, Tedford served as a test pilot at Naval Force Aircraft Test Squadron (VX-20) in Patuxent River, Maryland, for the P-3C, C-12 Huron and T-34C, mentor and as an instructor at USNTPS for the P-3C, U-21 Ute, T-38A Talon and T-2C Buckeye. He served two tours with the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft program office (PMA-290) at Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, as P-3C weapons class desk and as P-3 sustainment integrated product team lead responsible for the complete structural sustainment of 172 P-3/EP-3 aircraft and the execution of a $1.5 billion budget.
Tedford has accumulated more than 3,100 flight hours in 40 different aircraft. While in command of VX-30, the squadron of 250 military, government service and contractor personnel, he executed a $25 million annual budget and earned the 2009 Chief of Naval Operations Aviation Safety Award.
In April 2012, Tedford reported to PMA-251 as the deputy program manager for the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and the Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) system. He then commanded PMA 251 as the program manager Sept. 2014-July 2018. Following this tour, he assumed the responsibilities as Naval Air Systems Command vice commander in Aug. 2018. In Aug. 2019, Tedford assumed command of Operational Test & Evaluation Force (COMOPTEVFOR), Norfolk, Virginia.
His personal decorations include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (three), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three; one with Combat Valor), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two), and numerous other unit and service awards.