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CDR James Kotora is a native of Fairfax, VA. He graduated from Virginia Tech, in 2002, with a Bachelor of Science degree and a major in Biology and minors in Chemistry and Leadership. He was commissioned the same year via the Reserve Officers Training Corps. He is also a graduate of the University of Phoenix, where he earned a Master's Degree in Business Administration.
Following his commissioning in 2002, he completed primary fixed wing training in Corpus Christi, Texas, followed by advanced helicopter training in Milton, Florida, where he earned his Wings of Gold designation as a Naval Aviator. He completed his training at Helicopter Support Squadron 3 (HC-3) before proceeding to the world-famous “Providers” of Helicopter Support Squadron 5 (HC-5) later renamed “Island Knights” Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC-25) out of Anderson Air Force Base Guam flying the MH-60S.
His operational tours include serving as detachment Operations Officer for HC-5 while deployed to the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean in support of counter-piracy operations and humanitarian assistance/disaster relief operations following the 2005 Tsunami. He deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, and served as the Special Operations Iraqi Transition Team Executive officer. Onboard USS Peleliu (LHA 5), he served as the Aircraft Handling officer and Mini-Boss and earned his Officer of the Deck underway qualification. He also deployed to the 7th Fleet AOR as Officer-in-Charge of HSC-25 Detachment 1 and finished his tour as the squadron’s Operations Officer.
His ashore assignments include a tour at the Pentagon as a Crisis Action Team Briefer and at Commander Navy Europe/Africa/ 6th Fleet as the Joint Forces Headquarters Exercise planner to USAFRICOM where he spearheaded the Navy Role in Exercises: JUDICIOUS RESPONSE, EPIC GUARDIAN, JUDICIOUS ACTIVATION, and Fleet Battle Problem 19-1. He most recently served as the Branch Head of PERS-834 where he processed adverse officer matters, where he was promoted to Commander. Currently, he serves as Executive Officer for Naval Support Activity Souda Bay in Crete, Greece, where he reported in December 2022.
Last Updated: 21 December 2022