A native of Saginaw, Mich., Rear Adm. (ret) Hugo G. Blackwood graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in June 1973 with a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering.
Upon reporting to USS Cone (DD 866), homeported in Charleston, S.C., he served as Repair Division Officer, Damage Control Assistant, and Main Propulsion Assistant during deployments to the North Atlantic and Caribbean. In February 1976, he reported to Strategic Systems Project Office (SSPO-PM1), Washington, D.C., as Security Manager. Shortly thereafter, he fleeted up to Division Director, Administrative Services, and served as Flag Aide to the Director, SSPO. Following Destroyer School in 1979, he returned to Charleston as Operations Officer aboard USS Sellers (DDG 11). Upon completion of refresher training and recertification following overhaul, Sellers joined the Standing Naval Forces Atlantic (SNFL) North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) squadron for a seven-month deployment.
In July 1981, Blackwood transferred to the Navy Reserve and reported aboard USS Cone, a Navy Reserve Force (NRF) ship. Upon decommissioning of Cone, he joined the first Selres crew of USS Blakely (FF 1072) in June 1983. During his tour aboard Blakely, from June 1983 to September 1990, he fleeted up to Selres Executive Officer for three years, followed by three years in command of Blakely's 131 member Selres crew. In October 1990, he assumed command of the Selres Unit aboard USS Samuel Eliot Morison (FFG 13). Having already conducted Counter Narcotic (CN) Operations in Blakely, his Selres Unit was once again called into action during follow-on CN OPS and the "Show The Flag" Great Lakes Cruise '92. He then served on the staff of Readiness Command Region Seven, Charleston, S.C.
Serving one year as Mobilization Officer, he was fast tracked to Director of Plans for two years, and then Deputy Readiness Commander during a period when Naval Reserve Readiness Command (REDCOM) 7 grew from 3,500 to 7,000 drilling reservists. Following this staff tour, he was again selected for command of a newly formed Selres crew assigned to USS Inchon (MCS-12), homeported in Ingleside, Texas. Inchon Selres received high praise from NATO and U.S. flags during two major NATO exercises, Blue Harrier '97 and MARCOT '98. Rotating ashore, Blackwood assumed command of Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet (COMNAVSURFLANT) Detachment 606, Norfolk, Va. During his two-year tenure at COMNAVSURFLANT, Det. 606 earned two REDCOM 6 Command Excellence Awards and the prestigious Leo V. Bilger Award for sustained superior performance. He then assumed duties as the Executive Officer of the newly formed Area Air Defense Coordination Atlantic (AADC LANT) Unit, assigned to Commander, 2nd Fleet, aboard USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20). AADC, the Navy's Area Air Defense Coordination capability, plans and recommends area air defense courses of action to the Joint Force Air Component Commander (JFACC) in the Joint battle space.
Blackwood was selected for promotion to flag rank on Feb. 23, 2001 and on Sept. 24, he assumed duties as Deputy Commander, Maritime Defense Zone Atlantic, U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area, Portsmouth, Va. On Oct. 1, 2003, Blackwood was assigned to Military Sealift Command as Deputy Commander, and then Vice Commander in January 2005. In his final assignment, he assumed duties as Deputy Commander, Navy Region Southeast on Oct. 1, 2006.
Blackwood is a 1995 Master’s Degree graduate of Webster University. His awards include Legion of Merit (2), Meritorious Service Medal (5), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (2), and various Navy and Coast Guard unit commendations along with numerous other personal and service related awards.