Admiral Mark Fitzgerald was born in Winchester, Mass., and graduated from Northeastern University, Boston in June 1973. He was designated a naval aviator in October 1975. He retired from active duty on 1 December 2010.
Fitzgerald flew the A-7E Corsair II during sea assignments in VA-195 (1976-79), Carrier Air Wing 17 (1982-84), and VA-105 (1985-88) embarked aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), USS America (CV 66), and USS Forrestal (CV 59). He commanded the VA-46 “Clansmen” (1990-1991) aboard USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67), deploying with four days notice for Operation Desert Shield. He led the first Navy strike on Baghdad during the opening hour of Operation Desert Storm. During his career, Fitzgerald was assigned as deputy commander, Joint Air Force Component Commander for Provide Promise Yugoslav Operations and assistant commander for Deny Flight NATO operations (1993). He assumed command of Carrier Air Wing 14 (1994-95) while deployed to the Persian Gulf aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) supporting Operation Southern Watch.
Fitzgerald’s shore tours include VA-174 landing signal officer (1979-82), Naval Maritime Intelligence Center, SPEAR (1991-92), and executive assistant to the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (1996-98). He holds a Masters degree in Aeronautical Systems Engineering from the University of West Florida (1975) and attended the Naval War College, Newport, R.I (1983-84).
Selected for flag rank in September 1998, Fitzgerald’s first flag assignment was deputy commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and commanded Joint Task Force Determined Response in Aden, Yemen (2000). Assuming command of Carrier Group 8 (2001), he deployed with Theodore Roosevelt Battle Group during Operation Enduring Freedom (2001-2002). He served as director, Air Warfare and then as director, Naval Warfare (2003-2004), and as Commander, 2nd Fleet/Director, Combined Joint Operations from the Sea Center of Excellence (2004-2006). In December 2006 he was the director, Navy Staff in the Pentagon.
In November 2007, he assumed duties as Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples. Fitzgerald had operational responsibility for NATO missions in the Balkans, Iraq and the Mediterranean, and as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe/Africa, he was responsible for providing overall command, operational control, and coordination of U.S. Naval forces in the European and African Command area of responsibility.
Fitzgerald’s awards include the Navy Distinguished Service Medal (2 Awards), Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (4 awards), Distinguished Flying Cross with Combat V (2 awards), Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal (2 awards), Air Medals, and numerous individual, Campaign and Unit awards as well as numerous foreign awards. He has logged over 4,800 flight hours and has made over 1,170 carrier arrested landings from the decks of 14 aircraft carriers.