Captain Michael Connor was commissioned in June 1993 after graduating from the United States Merchant Marine Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering Systems.
After receiving his “Wings of Gold” in October 1996, he reported as a selectively retained graduate to VT-21 at NAS Kingsville, Texas where he served as a flight instructor in the T-45A Goshawk. Upon completion of FA-18 Hornet training with the “Gladiators” of VFA-106 at NAS Cecil Field, Florida in September 1998, he reported to the “Stingers” of VFA-113 at NAS Lemoore, California and deployed twice to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH as part of Carrier Air Wing 14 aboard USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN 72).
After graduating from the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) in July 2001, he reported to the “Outlaws” of Strike Fighter Weapons School Pacific at NAS Lemoore as a Strike Fighter Weapons and Tactics instructor. He also served as the operations and training officer, Joint Direct Attack Munition and Joint Standoff Weapon subject matter expert, and Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System program manager.
In December 2003, he reported to the “Kestrels” of VFA-137 at NAS Lemoore as training officer and later as a department head, deploying twice to the Western Pacific as part of Carrier Air Wing 2 aboard USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN 72) and providing humanitarian assistance during Operation UNIFIED ASSISTANCE to Banda Ache, Indonesia following the great Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004.
In November 2007, he reported to the Joint Functional Component Command for Global Strike, a component of United States Strategic Command, at Offutt AFB, Nebraska as a deterrence strategist in the J-5 Directorate and later as executive assistant to the commander.
In May 2011, he reported to the “Sidewinders” of VFA-86 at MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina as executive officer and later as commanding officer from September 2012 to November 2013. During this tour, he conducted a permanent duty station change to NAS Lemoore, an aircraft transition to the FA-18E Super Hornet, several detachments in the United States and Canada, and embarkations aboard USS NIMITZ (CVN 68) and USS RONALD REAGAN (CVN 76) as part of Carrier Air Wings 11 and 2.
In January 2014, he reported to Battle Force SEVENTH Fleet/Commander Task Force 70/Carrier Strike Group 5 as assistant chief of staff for operations at Yokosuka, Japan where he was responsible for the operational employment of the Navy’s only permanently forward-deployed carrier strike group and all independently deployed carrier strike groups, cruisers, and destroyers in SEVENTH Fleet and executed the USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (CVN 73)/USS RONALD REAGAN (CVN 76) hull swap. In August 2016, Connor reported to NAS Jacksonville, Florida, as executive officer, and in April 2018, Connor became the installation’s 48th commanding officer.
Connor is a 2012 distinguished graduate of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University with a Master’s of Science Degree in Aeronautical Science, a non-resident graduate of the Naval War College’s Command Staff Program, and a graduate of the Joint and Combined Warfighting School at the Joint Forces Staff College.
Connor has logged more than 3,100 flight hours in the P-8A Poseidon, FA-18EF Super Hornet, FA-18A-D Hornet, T-45A Goshawk, and T-34C Turbo Mentor, and he has logged 526 carrier-arrested landings. His personal awards include the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal (Strike/Flight), Navy Commendation Medal (two awards), Joint Service Achievement Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.