Lieutenant Colonel (LtCol) Brendan M. Walsh was born in Richboro, PA, on 28 July 1980. He graduated from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering. He reported to The Basic School in September 2002 and, following completion, began flight training. He was promoted to First Lieutenant on 24 May 2004, and he was winged as a Naval Aviator on 1 April 2005.
LtCol Walsh received orders to VFA-125 at NAS Lemoore, CA, in April 2005 for initial training in the F/A-18. After completion, on 21 February 2006, he reported to VMFA-323, MAG-11, 3d MAW at MCAS Miramar in San Diego, CA. He was promoted to Captain on 1 October 2006. With the “Death Rattlers,” LtCol Walsh completed a seven and one-half month forward deployment onboard the USS JOHN C. STENNIS, flying missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Post deployment, he prepared for and graduated from the MAWTS-1 Weapons and Tactics Instructor course on 21 April 2008. In 2009, he deployed again with VMFA-323 onboard the USS JOHN C. STENNIS as the Pilot Training Officer.
LtCol Walsh reported to VMFAT-101 on 1 December 2009. He attended and graduated from the Navy’s Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor Course as part of TOPGUN class 02-10. He then resumed duties at VMFAT-101 and also served as a MAG-11 Flight Leadership Standardization Evaluator.
LtCol Walsh reported to VMFAT-501 on 31 July 2011. He completed initial training in the F-35B, served as a Fleet Replacement Squadron instructor and was the first fleet aviator to receive F-35B Short Takeoff/Vertical Land qualification and instructor designation. In May 2013, he received his Masters in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology via Distance Learning. He was promoted to Major on 1 July 2013.
LtCol Walsh reported to VMFA-121 in October 2014. He served as the Operations Officer for the Marine Corps’ declaration of F-35B Initial Operational Capability. He oversaw deployments for training to MCAGCC Twentynine Palms, CA (Agile Lightning in support of Steel Knight), and Red Flag Nellis 17-3 (the first ever participation of any fleet F-35 variant in a Red Flag exercise). He ensured the squadron achieved all required readiness levels prior to his departure and VMFA-121’s subsequent forward basing to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan.
LtCol Walsh reported to VMX-1 in September 2016. After serving as the Weapons Officer and Department of Safety and Standardization Officer, he assumed duties as the Detachment Officer in Charge. He served in this role for the majority of the flight phase of F-35 Initial Operational Test and Evaluation, flying and leading missions in this Congressionally-mandated acquisitions testing requirement. He was promoted to LtCol on 7 December 2018.
LtCol Walsh checked into the “Black Knights” of VMFA-314 on 31 August 2019 and served as the Executive Officer. He completed conversion training and carrier qualification in the F-35C with VFA-125. On 5 June 2020, LtCol Walsh assumed Command of VMFA-314.
LtCol Walsh has logged more than 2,000 flight hours, including over 1,200 F/A-18 flight hours, over 830 F-35B/C flight hours, and over 130 hours in support of combat operations. His personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with Strike/Flight numeral 1, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with two Gold Stars, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.