James Kelly, RADM (ret.)
College of Operational and Strategic Leadership
Rear Admiral (Ret.) Jamie Kelly, a 1973 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, was designated a Naval Flight Officer (NFO) in 1974, and upon his retirement from the Navy in 2009, held the distinction as the “Gray Owl,” the U.S. Navy’s longest serving NFO on active duty. Flying in the A-6E Intruder, he served in four medium attack squadrons, ultimately commanding VA-115 forward-deployed to Japan aboard USS Midway (CV-41) and USS Independence (CV-62). He later commanded the Fast Combat Support Ship USS Sacramento (AOE-1), and the aircraft carrier USS Constellation (CV-64). As a Flag Officer, he was the Commander of Carrier Strike Group Five and the Commander, Task Force 70 aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV63) forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan. He has amassed more than 4,000 flight hours, including 60 combat missions during Operations DESERT STORM and SOUTHERN WATCH.
Staff assignments included duty as a Military Observer with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization in Palestine, NFO Training Officer for Training Wing SIX in Pensacola, Florida, Aide to the Assistant Chief of Naval Operations for Air Warfare, and as Director of the Strike Project Evaluation and Anti-Air Warfare Research Branch of the Office of Naval Intelligence. He was Special Assistant to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe/Commander, U.S. European Command and as a Flag Officer, was Director for Operations Plans, Policy and Training and then Fleet Requirements at U.S. Fleet Forces Command.
As Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Japan (CNFJ), Rear Admiral Kelly enabled the Seventh Fleet throughout the six naval bases and support facilities in the Pacific under his command, and fostered positive U.S.-Japan Alliance issues. He was the longest serving CNFJ in history, and was recognized by the Emperor of Japan with the awarding of the Order of the Rising Sun, gold and silver stars, for his service towards strengthening the Alliance.
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