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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive

Contributed by Mike Smolinski

USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7)

Captain Grady T. Banister III

A native of Sunnyside, GA, CAPT Banister is a 1987 graduate of the United States Naval Academy. Winged in 1989, his initial assignment was with the HC-6 “Chargers”, where he deployed in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM. Upon his return, he served as Squadron NATOPS Officer and Officer-in-Charge of several detachments before reporting to the HC-3 “Packrats”, the H-46D Fleet Replacement Squadron, as an instructor and the Navy’s H-46D NATOPS Program Manager. While flying with HC-3, CAPT Banister was selected as the Naval Helicopter Association’s 1995 Instructor Pilot of the Year.

Returning to sea, CAPT Banister served as Air Department Head aboard USS DULUTH (LPD-6), on which he deployed to the Western Pacific and Middle East. Transferring to the Joint Staff J-2, he became the editor of the Chairman’s Daily Intelligence Brief before again reporting to sea duty with the “Dragonwhales” of HC-8 as the squadron’s Operations Officer.

Ordered back to the Pentagon, CAPT Banister served as Personal Aide de Camp to the Secretary of the Navy. Upon the Secretary’s departure, he moved to the OPNAV Staff where he managed all Congressional issues for the N-8 Program Information Center.

From 2004 to 2007, CAPT Banister was Executive Officer then Commanding Officer of the HSC-26 “Chargers”, the Atlantic Fleet’s first MH-60S squadron. Selected as the Atlantic Fleet Battle “E”, Safety “S”, and Golden Anchor winner, the command deployed more that a dozen detachments around the world during CAPT Banister’s tenure.

In his most recent shore duty, CAPT Banister was assigned to the US European Command in Stuttgart, Germany where he was the J-5 Ballistic Missile Defense Plans Branch Chief. He was designated a Joint Specialty Officer in 2010.

CAPT Banister is a graduate of the Naval War College and the Joint Forces Staff College and was the FY10 selectee for the Federal Executive Fellowship at Harvard University. His personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (one oak leaf cluster), the Meritorious Service Medal (one gold star), the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two gold stars), the Joint Service Achievement Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two gold stars). In addition, he holds secondary designations as a Surface Warfare Officer and Naval Parachutist.

CAPT Banister reported aboard USS IWO JIMA (LHD-7) as the Executive Officer in July 2010.

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