He was commissioned in June 1979 upon graduation from Oregon State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nuclear Engineering Technology. In 1981 he was designated a Marine Corps naval aviator.
He has a Master’s Degree from Marine Corps Command and Staff College where he graduated as a Distinguished Graduate, and has attended Amphibious Warfare School, Joint Forces Staff College, and the MIT Security Studies Program.
During his Marine Corps career he deployed to Okinawa, Japan, Korea, the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean. He participated in contingency and combat operations in the Adriatic Sea, Persian Gulf, Liberia, Somalia, Kosovo, and Iraq.
He has served as commander Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 263 (reinforced) with 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard the USS Wasp, Deputy Chief of Staff U.S. Joint Forces Command, Chief of Staff Second Marine Aircraft Wing, and commander Marine Aircraft Group 26 (reinforced) in Al Asad, Iraq.
His personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with Gold Star, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with Bronze Numeral 4, Navy Commendation Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Humanitarian Service Medal, (8) Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, the Marine Corps Parachutist badge, and various other unit awards and decorations. He has over 4,100 flight hours as a Marine aviator, including over 225 combat hours.