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Captain Michael Wettlaufer

USS John C. Stennis
Commanding Officer


Captain Wettlaufer graduated from Colorado State University with a Bachelor of Science in Micro biology. He received his commission through Aviation Officer Candidate School, was “winged” in March 1988.

After completing A-6 Intruder Fleet Replacement Squadron training with Attack Squadron (VA) 42 in April 1989, Captain Wettlaufer conducted operational flying tours in the intruder with VA-85, and in the FA-18 Hornet during two assignments with Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 195, including a tour as commanding officer. These tours included combat deployments embarked aboard USS America (CV 66), USS Independence (CV 62) and USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63). While assigned to the Strike Aircraft Test Directorate, He conducted various A-6, FA-18, and T-45 flight test projects. He also served as test pilot and instructor at the Empire Test Pilots’ School on exchange with the British Royal Navy. While in the UK, he flew numerous aircraft including the Jaguar, Hawk, Hunter and Tucano. He also completed initial Joint Strike Fighter (F-35) flight control system evaluation trials in the VAAC Harrier aboard HMS Invincible (R05).

While ashore, Captain Wettlaufer served on the Operations staff for Commander U.S. SECOND Fleet, as a CNO Strategic Studies Group Associate Fellow, and in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as a policy analyst for the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policy where he was country Director for the United Kingdom, France, Canada and the Baltic States.

He completed Navy Nuclear Power Training and was assigned as Executive Officer in USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) where he completed a SEVENTH Fleet deployment, Planned Incremental Availability and pre-deployment training phases.

Recently Captain Wettlaufer commanded USS Denver (LPD 9), Home-ported in Sasebo, Japan. Denver deployed throughout 7th Fleet with Amphibious Squadron ELEVEN and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit including Exercises FOAL EAGLE and BALIKATAN.

He assumed command of USS John C. Stennis on 26 July 2013.

Captain Wettlaufer holds a Master of Science in Aviation Systems from the University of Tennessee and a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.

Captain Wettlaufer’s decorations include Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medals, Air Medals (three individual and three strike/flight awards), and other personal, unit, campaign, and service ribbons. He has accumulated over 3700 flight hours in 48 aircraft and more than 800 carrier arrested landings.