Captain Rafael “Rafi” Facundo, native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, received his commission via Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Fla. in 1997. After completion of Surface Officer School in Newport, R.I., he reported to his first assignment aboard the USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) where he served as the Weapons Division officer. During his tour on USS Oak Hill, he earned his designation as a Surface Warfare Officer and completed a Sixth Fleet deployment.
In 2000, he returned to Pensacola, Fla. for flight training. He completed his primary Naval Flight Officer training in Training Squadron FOUR (VT-4) and earned his wings from the 562nd Flying Training Squadron in San Antonio, Texas. After receiving his initial P-3 Orion training in VP-30, he reported to the “Mad Foxes” of VP-5, in Jacksonville, Fla., where he served as the Security Manager, line division officer, Schedules Officer and NFO Training officer. While with the “Mad Foxes”, he completed deployments to Puerto Rico, Ecuador, El Salvador, Iceland, and Sigonella, Italy.
He subsequently reported to Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing Eleven (CPRW-11) in Jacksonville, FL., where he was assigned as Special Projects/AAI Officer and Orion Weapons Tactics Instructor. While with CPRW-11, he completed an Individual Augmentee (IA) tour with Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) in Djibouti.
His next assignment was his department head tour with the “Golden Swordsmen” of VP-47, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, where he served as the Maintenance, Assistant Operations and Tactics Officer. While serving in VP-47, he completed a deployment to the Seventh and Fifth Fleet AOR’s.
In 2011, after completing his department head tour, he reported to U. S. Pacific Command, Camp H. M. Smith, Hawaii as the Strategy and Policy (J5) Directorate Australia country desk officer.
In 2013, CAPT Facundo reported to Training Squadron FOUR (VT-4) as Executive Officer. He assumed command of VT-4 in December 2014.
In 2016, after completing his Commanding Officer tour, he reported to USS AMERICA (LHA-6) as AIRBOSS (Air Officer) where he completed a deployment to the Seventh and Fifth Fleet AOR’s.
In 2018, CAPT Facundo reported to the U. S. Naval War College as a Senior Level Course student where he earned the designation of Advanced Naval Strategist. He subsequently joined the USNWC as military faculty.
CAPT Facundo's personal decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (2), the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (2), the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (3) and various campaign and unit awards.
CAPT Facundo holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico and a master’s degree in National Security and Strategy studies from the U. S. Naval War College.