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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive

USS Denver (LPD-9)

CAPT Michael A. Wettlaufer Commanding Officer

Captain Wettlaufer received his commission through Aviation Officer Candidate School in May, 1986, following graduation from Colorado State University. Designated a Naval Aviator in March 1988, he reported to VA-42 at NAS Oceana, Virginia, for A-6E Intruder replacement pilot training. In April 1989, he was assigned to the "Black Falcons" of VA-85, making 3 major deployments to the Mediterranean Sea, Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf aboard USS AMERICA (CV 66), including Operation DESERT STORM in 1991.

Following a brief assignment with SECOND FLEET, he attended Navy Test Pilot School in 1993 and served as a Project Officer, Test Pilot and Landing Signals Officer with Strike Aircraft Test Squadron flying the A-6, T-45 and FA-18.

Following FA-18 transition training with VFA-106 at Cecil Field, Florida, Captain Wettlaufer reported as a Department head to VFA-195, aboard USS INDEPENDENCE (CV 62) in 1997. After deployments to the Far East, southern Pacific, and Arabian Gulf, Captain Wettlaufer served as CVW-5 Operations Officer for the cross-deck to USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63) in 1998.

In November 1998, Captain Wettlaufer reported to the Empire Test Pilots' School, in the United Kingdom as a Fixed Wing Tutor and test pilot where he flew the Jaguar, Hawk, Hunter, Tucano, and Andover. In late 2000, he deployed aboard HMS INVINCIBLE for the initial Joint Strike Fighter flight control law development trials in the VAAC Harrier.

In March, 2001, Captain Wettlaufer reported to the Naval War College and was selected for the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group as an Associate Fellow. In June, 2003 he returned to VFA-195 as Executive Officer and assumed command of the Dambusters in August 2004, deploying to East Asia and the southern Pacific.

Captain Wettlaufer reported to the Office of the Secretary of Defense in September, 2005. Assigned as a policy analyst for the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policy, he served as Country Director for the United Kingdom, France, Canada, and the Baltic States.

Captain Wettlaufer commenced Navy Nuclear Power Program training in August, 2007 and reported to the USS JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN 74) as Executive Officer in May, 2009.

Captain Wettlaufer's education includes a BS in Microbiology from Colorado State University, a MS in Aviation Systems from the University of Tennessee and a MA in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.

Captain Wettlaufer's decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medals (2), the Air Medal (3 individual and 3 strike/flight awards), and other personal, unit, campaign, and service ribbons. He has accumulated over 3600 flight hours in 47 aircraft and more than 800 carrier arrested landings.

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