A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Captain Kevin “Kepper” Pickard Jr graduated in 1996 from the United States Naval Academy with a degree in English (with Merit). Following flight training, he was designated a naval aviator in April 1998. In 2007, he earned a master’s degree in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
His assignments at sea include tours in Helicopter Combat Support Squadron FOUR (HC-4) in Sigonella, Sicily, Helicopter Combat Support Squadron ELEVEN (HC-11) in San Diego, California, Flag Lieutenant for Carrier Strike Group 2 embarked in USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron TWENTY FIVE (HSC-25) in Guam, executive officer for the 2515th Naval Air Ambulance Detachment in Basrah, Iraq, and as Navigator aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). Throughout his career, he has completed multiple deployments to the European, Pacific, and Middle East theaters and has participated in and supported Operation Joint Guardian in Kosovo, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Inherent Resolve.
Captain Pickard previously commanded the Vigilant Eagles of Helicopter Training Squadron EIGHTEEN (HT-18) at Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Florida. Additional assignments ashore include tours as Senior Military Advisor in the Office of Counterproliferation Initiatives at the U.S. Department of State and as the Training Systems Branch Head and Chief of Naval Air Training Requirements Officer for Director, Air Warfare (OPNAV N98) on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations.
Captain Pickard has logged more than 3,600 hours in TH-57, HH-1N, MH-53E, and MH-60S helicopters. His personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Department of State Superior Honor Award, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (2), Air Medal (Strike/Flight 3), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3), Army Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and various unit and campaign awards.