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       CDR Catalina is a native of Ambridge, Pennsylvania, He graduated cum laude from the United States Merchant Marine Academy in 2001, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Shipboard Operations and Technology and a Third Mate License from the United States Coast Guard. Upon graduation, CDR Catalina was commissioned as an Ensign in the United States Navy and began flight training in August 2001. He was designated a Naval Aviator in March 2004 at NAS Meridian, Mississippi and reported to the “Flying Eagles” of VFA-122 for initial fleet training as a pilot in the FA-18E/F Super Hornet.  

     CDR Catalina began his first operational flying tour in January 2005 with the “Black Knights” of VFA-154. While with the “Black Knights,” he made two deployments aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) flying combat operations in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. During this tour, he attained his Forward Air Controller Airborne (FAC(A)) qualification and was selected to attend the Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN), becoming a Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor in March 2008.

     After TOPGUN graduation, CDR Catalina joined the “Outlaws” of Strike Fighter Weapons School Pacific, where he served as the EO/IR subject matter expert and Navy FAC(A) Program Manager, instructing in the FA-18C Hornet and the FA-18E/F Super Hornet strike fighter platforms.

CDR Catalina returned to the Fleet in September 2010, serving as Training Officer with the “Black Aces” of VFA-41. With the “Black Aces,” he made one deployment aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) flying combat operations in support of Operations New Dawn and Enduring Freedom. In March of 2012, he attended Aviation Safety Officer School and reported to the “Kestrels” of VFA-137 serving as the Operations Officer, Maintenance Officer, and Safety Officer. During his tour with the “Kestrels,” he completed one deployment aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76).

     Following his Department Head tour, CDR Catalina served as a Strike Fighter Officer Detailer and Assistant Captain Detailer at Naval Personnel Command in Millington, Tennessee from November 2014 to February 2017. He reported for FA-18E/F refresher training with VFA-122 in April 2017.

     CDR Catalina has accumulated over 2,800 flight hours and 640 carrier arrested landings, including 74 combat missions. His awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Strike/Flight Air Medal (3 awards), Navy Commendation Medal (3 awards), Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and various service awards and ribbons.

     CDR Catalina assumed command of VFA-137 as Commanding Officer in April of 2019.

     CDR Saunders is a native of Castro Valley, California. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2001, earning his commission and a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science. He began flight training in July 2001, was designated as a Naval Aviator in August 2003 at NAS Meridian, Mississippi and reported to the Sharpshooters of VMFAT-101 to train in the FA-18C Hornet.

     CDR Saunders began his first operational flying tour in October 2004 with the Vigilantes of VFA-151. He deployed twice with Carrier Air Wing TWO (CVW-2) onboard USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN 72) and supported the tsunami disaster relief efforts in Banda Aceh, Indonesia as part of Operation Unified Assistance.

Following his tour with VFA-151, CDR Saunders was selected to attend the U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) in September 2007. He was designated as a Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor (SFTI) upon graduation and remained at the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center (NSAWC) as a TOPGUN instructor. During his tour at TOPGUN, he was qualified to fly the FA-18A-D, FA-18 E/F, F-16A/B, and was the United States Navy and Marine Corps Advanced Tactical Training Program (ATTP) Subject Matter Expert.

CDR Saunders returned to the fleet in 2011, serving as Training Officer for the Fighting Redcocks of VFA-22. During this tour, CDR Saunders qualified as a Forward Air Controller Airborne (FAC(A)) and deployed with Carrier Air Wing SEVENTEEN (CVW-17) onboard USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70) in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In March 2012, he reported to the Black Aces of VFA-41 serving as the Safety Officer, Administrative Officer, Maintenance Officer, and Operations Officer. He deployed with the Black Aces in support of Operation Enduring Freedom onboard USS JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN 74).

Following his Department Head tour, CDR Saunders attended the U.S. Naval War College and graduated with a Master’s Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies. In January 2016, CDR Saunders reported to United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM) in Stuttgart, Germany as an operations planner and the Protection Operation’s Branch Chief. CDR Saunders screened for command and was slated to the Kestrels of VFA-137.

CDR Saunders has accumulated over 2,300 flight hours and 450 carrier arrested landings. His awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Strike/Flight Air Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (2 awards), and Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal along with other campaign and service awards.

    CMDCM (AW/SW) Veronica L. Brittenum  
    Command Master Chief  
  Master Chief Brittenum is a native of Memphis, Tennessee where she graduated from Whitehaven High School in 1986. She enlisted in the United States Navy and reported to Recruit Training Command, Orlando, Florida in March of 1993. Immediately upon completion of basic training, she attended Hospital Corpsman “A” School in Great Lakes, Illinois. Her first assignment was at Naval Hospital Millington in Millington, Tennessee.

 Her shore assignments include National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland, Navy Personnel Command, Millington, Tennessee, and Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois where she served as a Recruit Division Commander and earned the Distinguished Leadership Award and her Master Training Specialist certification. She also served as the Senior Enlisted Leader for Naval Branch Health Clinic Belle Chasse, New Orleans, Louisiana.

 Her sea tours include Fleet Surgical Team One, San Diego, California where she completed two deployments in the Western Pacific and earned her Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist and Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist qualifications. In June 2011, she returned to San Diego where she had the distinction of being the first crew member, Plank Owner, and Health Services Department Leading Chief Petty Officer onboard USS SOMERSET (LPD 25).

 A member of Class 169 (Green), she attended the Senior Enlisted Academy Resident Course where she graduated as the Honor Graduate and received the City of Newport Academic Excellence Award and the Surface Navy Association Military Heritage Award. She is also a graduate of the Command Master Chief course, class 184.

      In April 2018, Master Chief Brittenum reported aboard Strike Fighter Squadron ONE THREE SEVEN, Lemoore, California and assumed the duties as Command Master Chief.     

 Her personal awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (six awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (four awards), and various campaign, personal, and unit citations.






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