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CAPT Michael McKenna, from Missoula, Montana, attended Aviation Officer Candidate School through the NavCad program in 1987. He was designated a Naval Aviator and commissioned an Ensign in 1989 at NAS Meridian, MS.
Upon completion of A-6E Intruder training at NAS Oceana, VA, CAPT McKenna reported to the Black Falcons of VA-85 for his first fleet tour from July 1990 to June 1993. Assigned to CVW-1 embarked aboard USS America (CV-66), he completed two deployments including missions in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
From June 1993 to April 1995, he attended Old Dominion University and earned a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics. After transitioning to the EA-6B Prowler in 1995, he deployed with the Black Ravens of VAQ-135, assigned to CVW-11 aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) flying missions in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH. In April 1998, CAPT McKenna reported to VAQ-129 as an FRS instructor, serving as the Schedules, Student Control and Administrative Officer.
In March 2001, he joined the VAQ-134 Garuda’s, an expeditionary Prowler squadron, where he served as the Mobility and Operations Officer, completing three deployments in support of Operations NORTHERN and SOUTHERN WATCH. After detaching from VAQ-134 in February 2003, he attended the Naval War College where he received his MA in National Security and Strategic Studies. He completed a joint staff tour at US Northern Command in Colorado Springs, Colorado from March 2003 to February 2005, serving as the J-8 Amended Program Objective Memorandum (APOM) Team Lead and Executive Assistant.CAPT McKenna reported to the Shadowhawks of VAQ-141 in July 2006, serving as the Executive Officer until September 2007 and completing an expeditionary deployment to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan.
In September 2007, CAPT McKenna took command of the Shadowhawks, and completed workups and a deployment aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) with CVW-8 in support of OEF. During this period the Shadowhawks were awarded the Battle E and the Radford for superior operational and maintenance excellence. CAPT McKenna was awarded the RADM Don Quinn Award for Leadership in the Electronic Attack community for 2008. In December 2008 he relinquished command of VAQ-141.
After being selected for a bonus O-5 command, he assumed command of the Vikings of VAQ-129, the EA-6B and EA-18G Fleet Replacement Squadron, in May 2009. During his time with the Vikings, VAQ-129 introduced the Growler to the fleet and stood up a contract maintenance department to support the Prowler. He relinquished command of VAQ-129 in August 2010. In Oct 2009, CAPT McKenna was selected for Major Command, and began his Naval Nuclear Power training in Sep 2010. He reported as the Executive Officer of the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) in June 2012. CAPT McKenna has more than 3200 flight hours and 540 arrested landings. His awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Meritorious Service Medal, Individual Air Medal (with Combat V), Strike Flight Air Medal, and Navy Commendation Medal (with Combat V).
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