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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive

Contributed by Mike Smolinski

USS Pearl Harbor (LSD-52)

CDR. Theodore E. Essenfeld USN Commanding Officer

CDR Theodore E. Essenfeld grew up in Great Barrington, MA and enlisted in the Navy in November 1990.

A graduate of the Naval Nuclear Power Program, he earned the Silver Dolphins of an Enlisted Submarine Warfare Specialist aboard USS TOPEKA (SSN 754) before being selected for commissioning.

He was commissioned via the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps in December 1998 after graduating from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

As a Surface Warfare Officer, CDR Essenfeld’s sea duty assignments included Weapons Officer & Force Protection Officer aboard USS JUNEAU (LPD 10), Training Officer & Force Protection Officer aboard USS GONZALEZ (DDG 66), and Chief Engineer aboard USS FORT MCHENRY (LSD 43) and her “hull swap” replacement USS TORTUGA (LSD 46). Aboard USS GUARDIAN (MCM 5) he became the first Surface Warfare Officer to “fleet up” from Executive Officer to Commanding Officer. CDR Essenfeld later served as the Amphibious Operations & Plans Staff Officer on the Netherlands Maritime Force, Maritime Battle Staff. His most recent assignment was as Executive Officer aboard USS PEARL HARBOR (LSD 52).

Ashore, CDR Essenfeld served as a Defense Legislative Fellow in the office of Senator Roger Wicker during the 112th Congress.

CDR Essenfeld is a graduate of both the United States Naval War College and the Maritime Advanced Warfighting School.

His decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3 awards), the Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal (3 awards), the Enlisted Good Conduct Medal, 10 Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, and various unit and service awards.

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