CDR Polk was born in Topeka, Kansas. The son of a career Air Force Technical Sergeant, he graduated from Gateway High School in Aurora, Colorado, and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace from Metropolitan State College, Denver in 1992. After completing Aviation Officer Candidate School, he was commissioned in November 1993 as an Ensign and later designated a Naval Flight Officer in December 1994.
During his first tour with the Shadows of Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron FOUR (VQ-4), CDR Polk qualified on the E-6A as a Navigator, Airborne Communications Officer and Mission Commander as a LTJG. In addition to flying, CDR Polk worked in Operations, Maintenance and served as the Legal Officer for the command.
In 1998, CDR Polk was assigned to the Bureau of Naval Personnel (BUPERS) as an Aviation Detailer. After reestablishing the BUREAU at its new home in Millington, Tennessee, CDR Polk served as the Initial Assignment Officer under PERS 43, along with the Field Naval Aviator Board Coordinator/Advisor and General Aviation Detailer.
In July of 2000, he reported to the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) as the Assistant Strike Operations Officer. On October 7, 2001, the Carl Vinson repositioned to the North Arabian Sea for what later became Operation Enduring Freedom. CDR Polk personally planned and executed over 4,200 combat sorties while the Battle Group endured 72 days of continuous combat operations in support of the global war on terrorism.
Following his carrier tour, CDR Polk reported to The Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island in 2002, where he earned his Joint Professional Military Education and a Masters Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies.
From 2003 to 2005, he served as the Branch Chief for Readiness and Exercises, J-2, United States Pacific Command Staff, Pearl Harbor Hawai’i. CDR Polk was responsible for all intelligence products pertaining to all Pacific exercises encompassing not only US but Allied forces in the Pacific theater. He was also responsible to maintain the readiness and rapid deployment of the Multination Planning and Augmentation Teams which traveled extensively throughout the Pacific AOR to include its remote regions assisting with tsunami relief, hurricanes and floods. CDR Polk then completed his second TACAMO tour as Maintenance Officer, Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron THREE (VQ-3).
Following VQ-3, CDR Polk served as the TACAMO Readiness Officer, Chief Naval Air Forces, Naval Air Station North Island from 2007 to 2009. CDR Polk then reported aboard the USS CARL VINSON as the Gun Boss, and in January 2010 was selected as the CVN 70/CVW-17 Detachment OIC in support of Operation Unified Response, Haiti. His leadership was directly responsible for providing timely and urgent MEDEVACS, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief aid to devastated earthquake victims.
From 2012 to 2018, CDR Polk served consecutively as base Operations Officer at NS Norfolk and more recently NAS Jacksonville. Supporting in total 129 tenant commands, 37 aviation squadrons consisting of 340 aircraft, while safely achieving 340 thousand mishap free sorties.
CDR Polk has accumulated over 4,000 flight hours in the E-6A/B and various other aircraft. His awards include five Meritorious Service Medals, Joint Commendation medal, five Navy Commendation medals, two Navy Achievement medals, two Humanitarian Service medals, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service medals to include various other campaign and sea service medals.