Commanding Officer, Headquarters Squadron 39, Marine Aircraft Group 39
Major Anthony L. LaVista II

Major Anthony LaVista was born in San Jose, California. In the summers of 2001 and 2003 he attended Officer Candidate School and graduated in August 2003 as the “E” Company Honor Graduate.  In 2005, he graduated from the University of California, San Diego with Bachelor of Science degrees in Aerospace Engineering and Physics with Specialization in Astrophysics. He commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps in July 2005. Upon completion of The Basic School in 2006, he reported to Flight School in Pensacola, Florida and was designated a Naval Aviator in April 2008.

First Lieutenant LaVista reported to Marine Aircraft Group 39 (MAG-39) for initial training in the AH-1W at Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training Squadron 303 (HMLAT-303). In September 2008, he reported to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367 (HMLA-367). He deployed with HMLA-367 to Afghanistan from October 2009 to May 2010 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF).

Captain LaVista was hand-selected as one of the first pilots to fly the AH-1Z helicopter and completed conversion training in 2010.  In the summer of 2012 he was designated a Night Systems Instructor (NSI) in the AH-1Z. In the fall of 2012, Captain LaVista deployed with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 364 Reinforced (HMM-364 [REIN]) as part of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (15th MEU) to the U.S. Navy Fifth and Seventh Fleet Area of Operations. In 2013, Captain LaVista reported to HMLAT-303 to serve as an AH-1Z Fleet Replacement Squadron Instructor.

In December 2016, Major LaVista transferred to the Defense Language Institute, Presidio of Monterey to attend the Japanese language course and graduated with Honors in the spring of 2018. During this period, he was also presented with an Associates of Arts Degree in Japanese Studies. In the summer of 2018, he moved to Tokyo, Japan and served at the Japanese Ministry of Defense as a MARFORPAC Liaison Officer to the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF). In 2020, he graduated from the JGSDF Command and Staff College (CSC) and was presented with a Master of Arts in International Relations from New England College. Following his tour in Tokyo, Japan he was published in the December 2020 issue of the Marine Corps Gazette and designated a Northeast Asia Foreign Area Officer (FAO).

From August 2020 to May 2022, Major LaVista served as a department head at Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369 (HMLA-369), where he fulfilled the billets of Aircraft Maintenance Officer and Executive Officer. During this period, he deployed to Okinawa, Japan as part of the III MEF Unit Deployment Program (UDP).

In May 2022, Major LaVista reported to MAG-39 Headquarters and took command of Headquarters Squadron 39 (HQSQDN-39) on 26 May 2022.

Major LaVista has flown a total of 2,665 mishap-free flight hours, including 1,840 mishap-free flight hours in the AH-1Z. His personal decorations include the Strike/Flight Air Medal with bronze numeral “4”, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.