Thomas Otterbein

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Thomas G. Otterbein is a retired captain of the United States Navy.[1] A naval aviator, he held important aviation-related commands both at sea and on shore, including a stint as Executive Officer and acting Commanding Officer of the Navy Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun).

Early life and career[edit]

Otterbein was born in Bad Axe, Michigan.[2] He entered the United States Naval Academy and graduated in 1970.[1] After receiving his commission, he completed flight training and was designated a Naval Aviator in 1973.

His first operational tour was with VF-111 flying the F-4 Phantom II, where he made deployments to the Mediterranean Sea and western Pacific Ocean aboard USS Franklin D. Roosevelt and USS Kitty Hawk respectively. Upon completion of F-14 Tomcat training, his next sea tour was with Fighter Squadron 51, where he made an around the world cruise aboard USS Carl Vinson. In recognition of his superior aeronautical skills and leadership abilities, Captain Otterbein was selected for F/A-18 Hornet training and subsequently became the Executive Officer of Fighter Squadron 161 aboard USS Midway. Following that tour, he was the Executive Officer of Fighter Squadron 195 and had command of that squadron for eighteen months.[3]

Captain Otterbein successfully completed Nuclear Power Training and was soon back in the fleet, serving as Executive Officer of USS Theodore Roosevelt. He subsequently assumed command of USS Nashville[4] and led the ship through Operations Support/Uphold Democracy in Haiti, earning the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and Battle "E" award. The crowning achievement of his career came when he reported as Commanding Officer, USS Harry S. Truman.[5]


Thomas Otterbein worked ten years for Sperry Corporation and Northrop Grumman Corporation providing navigation equipment and software for military and commercial use. Otterbein currently resides in Charlottesville, Virginia.[6]


  1. ^ a b "TRIBUTE TO CAPTAIN THOMAS G. OTTERBEIN, USN". Congressional Record Online. Government Publishing Office. Retrieved 20 November 2015. 
  2. ^ Skelton, Ike. "Tribute To Captain Thomas G. Otterbein, USN". Capitol Words. Retrieved 24 June 2012. 
  4. ^ "Commanding Officer, USS NASHVILLE (LPD 13)" (PDF). Naval History and Heritage Command. Department of the Navy. Retrieved 20 November 2015. 
  5. ^ "NAVY'S NEWEST AIRCRAFT CARRIER HARRY S. TRUMAN (CVN 75) TO BE CHRISTENED". U.S. Department of Defense News Release. September 6, 1996. 
  6. ^ "2014 DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI CLASS". Bad Axe Public Schools. Bad Axe Public Schools. Retrieved 20 November 2015. 

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