Captain Erik Spitzer of Jamestown, N.Y. was awarded an NROTC scholarship to Penn State University in 1987. He graduated in May 1991 with a Bachelor of Science degree in metallurgical engineering and was commissioned an Ensign. He reported to Pensacola, Fla. for flight training in October 1991 and earned his wings as a Naval Flight Officer May 17, 1993.
His first assignment was as an A-6E Intruder bombardier/navigator with Attack Squadron (VA) 128 at NAS Whidbey Island, Wash. Following training, Lt. j.g. Spitzer reported to the “Boomers” of VA-165 in the summer of 1994 for his first operational tour aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68), where he completed 16 combat missions supporting Operation Southern Watch.
In October 1996, Lt. Spitzer reported to NAS North Island in San Diego, Calif., to transition to the S-3B Viking. In October 1997, he reported to Sea Control Squadron (VS) 30 at NAS Cecil Field, Fla., and deployed aboard USS Eisenhower (CVN 69) where he completed missions over Iraq and Bosnia.
In June 2000, Lt. Spitzer helped establish the Sea Control Weapons School at NAS Jacksonville, Fla., developing and instructing tactics for the Viking community. In October 2003, Lt. Cmdr. Spitzer reported to the VS-31 “Top Cats” as a department head and air wing strike lead. He deployed aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73) in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as tactics officer and was later promoted to maintenance officer. The Top Cats earned the “Golden Wrench” award In January 2005 for maintenance excellence in support of combat operations.
Lt. Cmdr. Spitzer completed National and Strategic Studies at the Air Command and Staff College and reported to the U.S. Southern Command in Miami, Fla. He was promoted to commander in December 2006 while working as a Maritime Operations planner in the Joint Operations (J3) directorate where he helped plan Partnership of the Americas 2007, the re-establishment of 4th Fleet, and the CNO’s Global Fleet Station initiative. In March 2007, he selected for Special Mission Command.
Assigned as executive officer to Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar in February 2008, he “fleeted up” to commanding officer in September 2009, and achieved accreditation as an American Correctional Association Certified Corrections Executive and completed Joint Professional Military Education (JPME II) at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va. In July 2011, he became the first commanding officer of the Joint Regional Correctional Facility Mid-Atlantic in Chesapeake, Va. and later designated a Joint Qualified Officer.
Cmdr. Spitzer assumed command of Navy Expeditionary Guard Battalion, JTF-GTMO/deputy commander, Joint Detention Group in July 2012 during transition to the U.S. Army. When the battalion was disestablished in 2013, he reported to U.S. Pacific Fleet staff as a Battle Watch Captain. In October 2014, he was selected for captain and was chosen to lead the Joint Training and Readiness Division, directing the certification and compliance of the Maritime Operations Center. In 2016, he was selected for Major Command Ashore at NAS Kingsville. In January 2020, he was selected for sequential Major Command Ashore at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and reported in July 2020 as the Commanding Officer / Joint Base Commander.
Capt. Spitzer has accumulated 2,300 hours in 11 different naval aircraft. His decorations include the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal (Strike Flight), Navy Meritorious Service Medal (four awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three awards), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (five awards), and various campaign and unit awards.