Colonel Chad Vaughn is a 1997 graduate of Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. He was commissioned through the Platoon Leaders Course as a Second Lieutenant in May 1997, designated a Naval Aviator in January, 2000 and completed his initial qualification in the F/A-18 in February, 2001.
Col Vaughn’s operational assignments include carrier-based deployments aboard the USS John C. Stennis and Carl Vinson, land-based deployments, and combat operations in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. He held squadron billets in both operations and maintenance to include Training Officer, Director of Safety and Standardization, Maintenance Officer, and Operations Officer.
Col Vaughn’s non-operational assignments include three years as an instructor at the Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN), where he served as the Navy/Marine Corps Subject Matter Expert on 1v1 Air Combat, F-35 Fleet Replacement Squadron instructor pilot, HQMC F-35 Requirements Officer, and J35 Future Operations Chief at USINDOPACOM.
Col Vaughn was among the initial cadre of seven USMC pilots selected to transition to the F-35 in 2008 and commanded the USMC’s second operational F-35B squadron, VMFA-211, from June 2016 until January 2018. Following Command, Col Vaughn was selected to attend the National War College, graduating in June 2019.
Col Vaughn has over 2,900 flight hours in the F/A-18A-D, F-16A/B, F/A-18E/F, and the F-35B; he is also a graduate of MAWTS-1 and TOPGUN. He has been privileged to serve in units that have earned two Navy Unit Commendations, two Navy Meritorious Unit Commendations, and a Joint Meritorious Unit Award. He is married to Jennifer, his wife of 19 years, and they have two children: Jeb (14) and Kaylee (11).