Captain John DePree is a California native, born and raised near Mt. Shasta in the northern part of the state. He is a 1996 Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering.
DePree earned his Naval Flight Officer wings in January 1998 in Pensacola, Florida before reporting for initial F-14 training with the “Grim Reapers” of VF-101 at NAS Oceana, Virginia. His first fleet assignment was with the “Diamondbacks” of VF-102 flying the F-14B Upgrade Tomcat, with deployments onboard the USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV67) in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH and onboard the USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN 71) in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM immediately following the September 11th attacks.
In May 2002, CAPT DePree reported to the “Flying Eagles” of VFA-122 for instructor duty and transition to the F/A-18F Super Hornet. During his shore tour, CAPT DePree was selected to attend the Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor course (TOPGUN) at NAS Fallon, Nevada. Upon completion in May 2003, CAPT DePree was designated a Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor. CAPT DePree also earned his Executive Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the Naval Postgraduate School while assigned to VFA-122, where he graduated with distinction in 2004.
Following shore duty, CAPT DePree reported to the “Bounty Hunters” of VFA-2 in April 2005 as Training Officer, and deployed with CVW-2, onboard the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN 72) from March 2006 to August 2006 in support of operations in the Western Pacific Ocean. CAPT DePree then reported to the “Black Aces” of VFA-41 as Department Head. He deployed with CVW-11 embarked on USS NIMITZ (CVN 68) in support of Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM in 2007, with a follow-on surge deployment in support of operations in the Western Pacific Ocean in 2008.
Following his Department Head tour, CAPT DePree attended the Naval War College in Newport, RI where he graduated with highest distinction, earning a Master’s Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies. His next assignment was with Commander U.S. Northern Command in Colorado Springs, CO as the J-39 Information Operations Division, Policy, Plans, and Analysis Chief.
In October 2011 CAPT DePree returned to NAS Lemoore, CA for refresher training in the F/A-18F and subsequent duty as the Executive Officer of VFA-154. CAPT DePree assumed operational command of the Black Knights in July of 2013 while underway in the Northern Arabian Gulf. As Skipper, he led the Black Knights through an extended nine-month combat deployment to the 7th, 5th, and 6th Fleet Areas of Responsibility. Under his tenure, the Black Knights earned the 2013 Captain Strike Fighter Wing Pacific LTJG Bruce Carrier Award for Maintenance Excellence.
Captain DePree most recently served as the Deputy Branch Head for Campaign Analysis and Modeling and Simulation in the Assessment Division (N81), in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (integration of Capabilities and Resources).
Captain DePree has accumulated over 3,350 flight hours and nearly 900 carrier arrested landings. He has over 1,000 hours in the F-14A/B+ Tomcat and over 2,000 hours in the F/A-18F Rhino, including over 400 combat hours in Afghanistan and Iraq. His military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross (with Combat “V”), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Strike Flight Air Medal (seven awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three awards, one with Combat “V”).
Captain DePree is married to his sweetheart, the former Eve Hack of Severna Park, MD. The DePree’s reside in Coronado, CA with their two children, Thomas and Emily.