Commander Rich Schmaeling

Cmdr. Schmaeling commissioned upon graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1999 with a degree in History. He reported to Pensacola, Florida, for flight training, and received his Wings of Gold in 2001.

Schmaeling then reported to San Diego, California, to the Gunbearers of Helicopter Combat Support Squadron (HC) 11. During his tour, he flew the Boeing Vertol (CH) 46 Sea Knight helicopter. He reported to the Vigilant Eagles of Helicopter Training Squadron (HT) 18 in Pensacola, Florida, where he held the position of Flight Instructor.

After his time as a Flight Instructor, Schmaeling reported to USS Nimitz (CVN 68) in 2007. Aboard Nimitz, he held the positions of Tactical Actions Officer and finished his time aboard as the Assistant Navigator. Schmaeling attended Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, in 2010 where he earned a Master’s Degree in National Security and Strategic Defense and Phase One Joint Professional Military Education.

He then received orders to the Eightballers of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8 in San Diego, California. He served various positions there including Maintenance Officer, Administration Officer and finally as Detachment Officer in Charge before departing in 2013.

After departing HSC 8, Schmaeling reported to the Merlins of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 3 where he served as the Search and Rescue Model Manager and a Flight Instructor.

In 2016, Schmaeling arrived in Naples, Italy, as part of Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa, Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet. He served as the Force Antiterrorism Force Protection Officer during his time in Naples.

Cmdr. Schmaeling has logged more than 3,300 flight hours including flights during OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM and OPERATION INHERENT RESOLVE. His decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal as well as other individual, unit and campaign awards.

Last Updated: 17 March 2022

Commander, Navy Region Hawaii   |   850 Ticonderoga St   |   Pearl Harbor, HI 96860-5101
Official U.S. Navy Website