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His first fleet assignment was to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 27 “Royal Maces” as they moved from Lemoore, Calif. to Atsugi, Japan. He served as as First Lieutenant Division Officer, Information Systems Security Manager, Aviation & Armament Division Officer, and Air-to-Ground Weapons Training Officer while completing numerous deployments to the Western Pacific and Persian Gulf aboard the aircraft carrier USS Independence (CV 22) with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5. He later served as Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 81 “Sunliners” Safety, Operations, and Maintenance Officers during his department head tour, flying combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan from the USS George Washington (CVN 73). He rejoined Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 81 in 2007 as executive officer and assumed command in May 2008, flying F/A-18Cs from USS Nimitz (CVN 68) in Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 and transitioned the squadron to F/A-18E’s in Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17. He served as executive officer of USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) from April 2012 through April of 2014.
His shore assignments include legal officer for the Pacific Fleet adversary “Bandits” of Fighter Squadron (VF) 126 at Naval Air Station Miramar before flight school. A graduate of U. S. Air Force Test Pilot School class 99A, he tested F/A-18 A-Fs and T-45s for the Naval Strike Aircraft Test Squadron in Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. He later led TSPAT/Master Air Plan efforts as Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic Strike Fighter Squadron Readiness Officer, and most recently served as the Joint Staff J35S Joint Force Coordinator division chief.
Capt. Hannifin has more than 2,800 hours of flight time in 33 different aircraft, of which approximately 2,300 are in the F/A-18. His awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medals, Navy Commendation Medals, an Air Medal, and selection as Naval Strike Aircraft Test Squadron’s Test Pilot of the Year in 2000.
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