Rear Adm. Mark A. Melson is a native of Dubuque, Iowa. He graduated from the University of Utah in 1992 and was awarded the Utah Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps Unit Distinguished Naval Graduate upon commissioning. He earned a master’s degree from the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy in 2014, with a focus on the aircraft industry.
Melson was designated a naval flight officer in 1994 and has served in operational tours worldwide. Sea tours include Patrol Squadron-26 (VP) 26, USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) as assistant navigator, and VP-9. He commanded VP-16 and served as executive officer and commanding officer in USS Makin Island (LHD 8), during which time the ship was awarded the Battle “E” and the Admiral Flatley award for operational and safety excellence in aviation operations.
Ashore, Melson has served as: flag lieutenant/flag aide to Commander, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Forces (CTF-67), U.S. Sixth Fleet; P-3 Aviation assignments officer for shore and sea detailing at Navy Personnel Command; naval aide to the Vice President of the United States, serving in the White House; deputy director, Navy Senate Liaison; senior military assistant to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), Mons, Belgium; and executive assistant to Deputy Chief of Navy Operations (OPNAV N3N5).
He assumed his role as deputy director for Future Force Development and Design Integration, J7, in June 2020.
Melson’s personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal (two awards), Legion of Merit (two awards), Meritorious Service Medal (two awards) and other various service and joint awards.