Captain “Gator” Chope, a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, graduated from The Citadel in 1989 as a Distinguished Naval Graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Politics and Military Affairs. He was designated a Naval Flight Officer in August 1990 and, after training in the A-6E Intruder at Attack Squadron 42, joined the Black Panthers of VA-35 in October 1991.
After the disestablishment of VA-35, Captain Chope was selected to transition to the F-14 Tomcat at Fighter Squadron 101. He joined the Tophatters of VF-14 in December 1995, where he served until July 1998 when he rejoined VF-101 as a Fleet Replacement Squadron Instructor. He subsequently transferred to the World Famous Red Rippers of Fighter Squadron 11 in March 2000.
Following his tour at VF-11, Captain Chope attended the Naval War College where he earned a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies. In November 2003, he transferred to the United States Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida where he served as the Chief, Special Technical Operations Branch.
In January 2006, Captain Chope reported to the Flying Eagles of Strike Fighter Squadron 122 where he transitioned to the F/A-18F Super Hornet and served as Executive Officer until joining the Fighting Redcocks of Strike Fighter Squadron 22 as XO in December 2006. In February 2008, he assumed command of VFA-22.
Captain Chope relinquished squadron command in May 2009 and reported to the Navy Personnel Command in Millington, Tennessee where he served as Head, Aviation Lieutenant Commander and Junior Officer Assignments until July 2011. In March 2012, he became the Executive Officer of Naval Air Station Oceana before fleeting up as the Commanding Officer on August 16, 2013.
Captain Chope has accumulated over 3800 flight hours and 1050 arrested landings. His awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), the Strike/Flight Air Medal (four awards), the Navy Commendation Medal (five awards), the Navy Achievement Medal (three awards) and numerous campaign and service awards.