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Commanding Officer

Commanding Officer, NSF Diego Garcia

CAPT Richard Payne is a native of Pampa, Texas and Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of ’97 graduate of Texas A&M University in College Station. He received his commission through Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) in 1998 and earned his Wings of Gold in 1999. He holds a bachelors degree in History from Texas A&M and a Masters of National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College.

CAPT Payne’s operational assignments include three tours with Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron ONE (VQ-1 “World Watchers”) as a Senior Evaluator, Mission Commander and Instructor on the EP-3E Aries II Signals Intelligence aircraft. He has led Combat Reconnaissance Crews in the U.S. 5th, 6th, and 7th Fleet during numerous forward deployed detachments in support of Operations Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Freedom Sentinel and Inherent Resolve. CAPT Payne led the !World Watchers” as the Executive Officer and Commanding Officer from 2015-2017. His other operational tours include Assistant Strike Operations Officer aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN74) and Operations Officer for Commander Task Force 57 (CTF-57) in Manama, Bahrain.

His shore assignments include Fleet Replacement Squadron Instructor at Patrol Squadron 30 (VP-30), Joint Training Team Project Officer at U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), Requirements and Resourcing Officer Navy Air Warfare Director (OPNAV N98) and Navy Federal Executive Fellow at the RAND Corporation. CAPT Payne assumed command of Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia in July 2021.

CAPT Payne"s military awards include: Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (Three Awards), Air Medal (Individual Action), Navy Commendation Medal (Three Awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (Two Awards), and various other personal, campaign and unit awards.

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