Captain David Culpepper

Captain David Culpepper, Commander, NS Guantanamo Bay


A native of El Segundo, California, Captain Culpepper graduated from the United States Naval Academy in May 1992 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering.

Designated a Naval Aviator in June 1995 Captain Culpepper was assigned to the GRIM REAPERS of FIGHTER SQUADRON 101 for initial training in the F-14 TOMCAT. Upon completion of training, Captain Culpepper was assigned to the TOPHATTERS of FIGHTER SQUADRON 14 where he completed three deployments which included a NORLANT, NATO operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Operations ALLIED FORCE and SOUTHERN WATCH for which the squadron was awarded the Battle E.

In January 2000 Captain Culpepper was assigned to the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center in Fallon, Nevada. Assigned as an instructor at the Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN), he was the subject matter expert for F-14 air-to-air employment and for the AIM-54 Phoenix air-to-air missile.

Captain Culpepper then reported to the BLACK KNIGHTS of FIGHTER SQUADRON 154 stationed in Atsugi, Japan. Immediately upon arrival he deployed with AIRWING FIVE aboard the USS KITTY HAWK for Operation IRAQI FREEDOM for which the squadron was awarded the Battle E. Following this deployment the squadron changed homeport to Lemoore, California and transitioned to the F/A-18F SUPER HORNET. The BLACK KNIGHTS subsequently deployed with AIR WING NINE aboard the USS CARL VINSON to again participate in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. Captain Culpepper held duties as the Admin, Maintenance and Operations Officers.

After earning a Master’s Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College, Captain Culpepper reported to the United States Special Operations Command. He served as the Special Operations Chief of Experimentation before reporting to STRIKE FIGHTER SQUADRON 195 as the Executive Officer.

While in Command of VFA-195, the Dambusters transitioned to the F/A-18E Super Hornet, creating the Navy’s first, and only, all Super Hornet Air Wing. The squadron received back-to-back Boola Boola awards, the Safety S, and the CVW-5 Golden Wrench. Captain Culpepper then reported as the Director of Training at Carrier Strike Group FOUR. 

Captain Culpepper has over 4000 flight hours in the F-14 A-D, F/A-18 A-F and more than 900 arrested landings on eight different aircraft carriers. His personal awards include the Joint Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Meritorious Service Medal, and multiple awards of the Air Medal including two Air Medals for Valor.

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