Command Suite

Commanding Officer


Captain John D. Deehr is a native of Warren, Ohio and received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Kent State University, Kent, Ohio in 1982. He joined the Navy in 1985 and received his commission from Naval Officer Candidate School, Newport, RI in February 1986.

His first tour of duty was aboard USS CALOOSAHATCHEE (AO 98), where he served as Weapons Officer and Communications Officer. In November 1989, Captain Deehr reported to Commander, Combat Logistics Squadron TWO in Leonardo, New Jersey where he served as Assistant Operations Officer.

Following Department Head School, Captain Deehr reported to USS PLATTE (AO 186) in Norfolk Va. in October 1993 and served as the First Lieutenant. In August 1995, he reported to USS ESSEX (LHD 2) in San Diego, Ca. and completed a 26-month tour as First Lieutenant.

In July 1999, Captain Deehr reported as the Executive Officer, to USS OGDEN (LPD 5) in San Diego. OGDEN was deployed to the Arabian Gulf as part of PELELIU Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and completed a highly successful six month deployment to the Third, Fifth, and Seventh Fleet areas of responsibility.

Captain Deehr took command of USS GERMANTOWN (LSD 42) in San Diego, Ca. October 26, 2004 and deployed to the Arabian Gulf in February 2006, as part of the PELELIU ARG. During this deployment, GERMANTOWN conducted maritime security operations throughout the Gulf and served as the Afloat Forward Staging Base for anti-terrorism and force protection units at Al Basrah and Khor Al Amaya Oil Terminals in Iraq. Under his command, GERMANTOWN won the 2006 Department of the Navy Safety Excellence Award for amphibious ships.

In October 2010 Captain Deehr reported to USS Peleliu (LHA 5) in San Diego and completed a 20 month tour as Executive Officer prior to taking command in June 2012. Under his command, PELELIU completed an eight month deployment to the Fifth Fleet AOR and won the 2012 and 2013 Battle Efficiency Awards and the 2013 Admiral Flately Memorial Award for Aviation Safety.

Captain Deehr's shore tours include: Naval Operations Instructor,Command and Control Systems Course, Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico, VA; Amphibious Placement Officer and Deputy Director, Pers-41, Naval Personnel Command, Millington, TN.; Assistant Chief of Staff for Manpower and Personnel, Commander Naval Surface Forces, SanDiego, Ca.; and Deputy Chief of Operations Plans, U.S. Central Command,Tampa, Fl. Captain Deehr attended the Naval War College in 2003 and received his Masters Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies.

Captain Deehr’s personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal; Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal; Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and various campaign, unit, and service awards.


Executive Officer


Commander Mike Maxwell is a descendant of a long line of career Naval Officers and graduated from New Mexico State University in December1993 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering. Prior to entering Naval service, Commander Maxwell was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the US Air Force in June of 1994. He entered active duty with the 46th Electronic Combat Test Squadron in Eglin AFB, Florida as a flight test engineer. He served as lead test engineer for an electronic range calibration test program and an F-16 HARM targeting pod software test program.

Commander Maxwell laterally transferred to the US Navy in June of 1996 and reported to NAS Pensacola, Florida for flight training, completing undergraduate flight training with the VT-3 “Red Knights”, VT-19 “Frogs” in Meridian, MS and the VT-21 “Redhawks” in Kingsville, TX earning his wings of gold in October 1998. He then reported to the VF-101 “Grim Reapers” at NAS Oceana, VA for training in the F-14 Tomcat aircraft.

In October 1999 Commander Maxwell reported to the VF-143 “Pukin’ Dogs” based at NAS Oceana, VA, where he served aboard the USS EISENHOWER (CVN 69) and USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV 67) in direct support of Operations DENY FLIGHT, SOUTHERN WATCH, and ENDURING FREEDOM. In this tour he served as the Personnel Officer, Aviation Electrician Branch Officer and Assistant Operations Officer. He also earned his Joint Terminal Air Controller qualification and Forward Air Controller Airborne designation. In December of 2002 he graduated from the U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School and reported to Strike Fighter Weapons School Atlantic. During this tour he served as the Close Air Support, Forward Air Controller Airborne and Basic Fighter Maneuvering subject matter expert as well as the Fleet F-14 Training Officer. Commander Maxwell reported to the VF-32 “Swordsmen” in April 2005 as Assistant Operations/Training Officer and bedded down the Tomcat then transitioned to the FA-18F Super Hornet. He then served in VFA-32 for his Department Head tour where he served as the squadron’s Operations Officer and Maintenance Officer aboard USS TRUMAN (CVN 75).

Commander Maxwell then reported for Joint Duty with Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command Europe in Stuttgart, Germany in January 2008, serving in the Operations Directorate (J-3) as Air Operations Officer, Joint Operations Center Chief, and Contingency Operations Branch Chief. Commander Maxwell then transferred to Special Operations Command Africa in April 2009 to stand up the newly formed Geographic Combatant Command where he served as Future Operations Chief and U.S. Africa Command Survey and Assessment Team (ASAT) Lead and Air Planner. During these tours he participated in numerous exercises, contingency operations and evacuation operations throughout Europe and the continent of Africa where he worked directly with Country Teams and Ambassadors in crisis to include leading a rapid deployment team of seven personnel to conduct preliminary evacuation operations in Conakry, Guinea in September of 2009.

From March of 2011 to July of 2013 he served as the Assistant Air Officer, “Mini Boss”, aboard USS NIMITZ (CVN 68). As Mini Boss, he led and directed more than 600 Officers, Chiefs and Sailors in the safe and efficient execution of high risk carrier flight operations and the maintenance and operation of an extensive aircraft launch and recovery and fuel distribution system. In July of 2013 he reported to the University of Washington Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Unit as the Executive Officer and Associate Professor of Naval Science where he serves today.

Commander Maxwell completed Joint Profession Military Education and earned a Masters of Business Administration from TUI University. He is married to the former Laura Semones of Columbia, South Carolina and they have two children, Sarah (15) and Benjamin (12).