"Operating from Yokosuka, Japan, as America's only
permanently forward deployed aircraft carrier"
COMMANDING OFFICER USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63)
CAPTAIN THOMAS A. PARKER
USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63)
A native of Savannah, Georgia and a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, Captain Tom Parker was commissioned an Ensign in January 1976 after completing Aviation Officer Candidate School (AOCS) in Pensacola, Florida. After completing VT-10 in Pensacola, he was then assigned to RVAW-120 in Norfolk, VA, to fly the E-2C Hawkeye. He was designated a Naval Flight Officer in February 1977. He reported to VAW-123 in July 1977 and served in both Maintenance and Operations Departments while deployed on board the USS SARATOGA (CV 60).
After completing a tour as an instructor at RVAW-120 in Norfolk, he was assigned to the staff of Commander, Cruiser Destroyer Squadron EIGHT in Norfolk as the AAW Officer and Force Tactical Action Officer (TAO) in June 1983, taking part in the liberation of Grenada and the capture of the Achille Lauro hijackers. In November 1985, Captain Parker reported to the staff of Commander, Naval Air Force, Atlantic Fleet in Norfolk, Va, as the Carrier Combat Information Center (CDC) training officer. During this tour he earned a Masters Degree in International Studies from Old Dominion University.
In August 1988, Captain Parker joined the Fightin' Bitin' Steeljaws of VAW-122 in USS FORRESTAL (CV 59), serving as Admin, Operations and Maintenance Officers. In October, 1990, he reported as Executive Officer to the Bear Aces of VAW-124 assigned to USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN 71), and took part in Operation Desert Storm, assuming duties of Commanding Officer in April, 1992. Selected for a Federal Executive Fellowship, Captain Parker was assigned to the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California from July 1993 - August 1994.
Captain Parker returned to Norfolk to serve as the Operations Officer onboard USS AMERICA (CV 66) until October 1995, taking part in combat operations in the Balkans. He reported next to Washington, DC, serving as the Tactical Aircraft Analyst in the Secretary of the Navy's Office of Program Appraisal (OPA) until selected for major command. Reporting to USS BELLEAU WOOD (LHA 3) in Sasebo, Japan as Executive Officer in August 1998, he assumed command of Belleau Wood in April 1999. BELLEAU WOOD was awarded the Marjorie Sterritt Trophy as the best ship in the Pacific Fleet during his tenure in command. After successful completion of the Navy's largest and most successful hull swap to date, Captain Parker assumed command of USS ESSEX (LHD 2) in Sasebo, Japan in July 2000.
Next assigned to United States Space Command (USSPACECOM) in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Captain Parker served as Delta Crew Command Director assigned to Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center (CMOC), and as the Vice Director for Plans (J5V) at HQ, USSPACECOM at Peterson AFB. In February 2003, Captain Parker reported to USS Kitty Hawk, home ported in Yokosuka, Japan, as Commanding Officer.
Captain Parker has logged more than 3500 hours and 650 arrested landings in the E-2C Hawkeye. Captain Parker's decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (four awards), Strike/Flight Air Medal (two Awards), Navy Commendation Medal (five awards, one with combat "V"), and various unit citations, campaign medals, and service ribbons.