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Captain Shawn P. O’Connor accepted a commission as an Ensign in December 2000 after graduating from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Business Administration, Finance. Earning his wings of gold in June 2002, he was then transferred to Fighter Squadron 101 for Fleet Replacement training and was designated a Radar Intercept Officer in May of 2003.
His first fleet tour was with the Red Rippers of Fighter Squadron Eleven deploying aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73) in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, as well as the Partnership of the Americas Caribbean Deployment. In July 2005, he was re-designated as a Weapon Systems Officer with the Red Rippers transition to the FA-18F. Also, concurrent with his service in VFA-11, he served as Admiral’s Aide for Commander, Carrier Strike Group Ten from January to June 2006.
In October 2006, he was selected to attend the Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) prior to reporting to Strike Fighter Weapons School, Pacific (SFWSP). At SFWSP, he was designated as the West Coast Air-to-Air Weapons and Tactical Crew Coordination Subject Matter Expert, and he earned his Forward Air Controller (Airborne) Qualification.
His following tour was with the Black Knights of Strike Fighter Squadron One Five Four where he served as Training Officer and Standardization Cell Head for Carrier Air Wing Fourteen. He deployed aboard the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) in 2009 to support Western Pacific Fleet Operations.
While serving as Department Head at the Black Aces of Strike Fighter Squadron Four One, he deployed aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) in 2011-2012 and the 2012-2013 combat surge deployments supporting Operations New Dawn and Enduring Freedom as well as Defensive Counter Air protecting national assets in the Arabian Gulf.
In November 2013, he reported to Allied Maritime Command, Northwood, where he served as Current Operations Officer for Commander, Maritime Air NATO, where he coordinated aerial assets in support of Operations Active Endeavour, Ocean Shield, and SHAPE directed Assurance Measures countering Russian Aggression in the Baltics and Ukraine.
Following his selection in March 2015 for Commanding Officer, he reported in June 2016 as Executive Officer of Strike Fighter Squadron One Two Two en route to his fleet assignment to Strike Fighter Squadron One Five Four in May 2017. He completed a combat deployment aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68) in June to December 2017 supporting Operation Inherent Resolve and serving the 5th and 7th Fleet AORs. Assuming Command of VFA-154 in July 2018, he successfully guided his squadron through Maintenance Phase and work-ups as part of Carrier Air Wing Eleven where they also completed Exercise Northern Edge in June-July 2019 aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). Following Change of Command in October 2019, Commander O’Connor reported to the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) in February 2020 as Air Officer, leading the ships largest department of over 600 personnel through three 2020 carrier qualification periods and work-ups starting April 2021 proceeding the 2022 Western Pacific Deployment.
Captain O’Connor has accumulated over 2,900 flight hours and 700 arrested landings. His awards include a Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, four Strike/Flight Air Medals, three Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals and numerous other unit and campaign awards.
Last Updated: 7 September 2022