JAMES BYRD PHILPITT, Captain, U.S. Navy (Retired)


Captain Jim Philpitt retired from the United States Navy in October 2007 following over 30 years of military service, to include the Cold War and Operations SOUTHERN WATCH, ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM. Originally intending to be an Air Force officer, Captain Philpitt completed the Air Force ROTC program at Florida State University in June 1977, compressing a 4-year commissioning program and BS degree into 2 years, 9 months.  When a post-Vietnam Reduction in Force eliminated his orders to flight training prior to graduation, he obtained a conditional release from the Air Force and reported in June 1977 to Aviation Officer Candidate School at NAS Pensacola, Florida. Commissioned as an Ensign in the Naval Reserve in September 1977, he reported to flight training in January 1978 and augmented to the Regular Navy in 1981. He also holds an MPA degree from the University of West Florida and is a graduate of the U.S. Naval War College, the Air War College and the Joint Forces Staff College.

A career Naval Flight Officer, he has logged over 3,600 flight hours in various carrier-based and shore-based strike and reconnaissance aircraft with multiple deployments to the Atlantic, Pacific, Mediterranean, and Persian/Arabian Gulf theaters of operation.  His operational assignments include multiple aviation squadrons, air wings, and a ship’s company tour in air operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63).  He has also held staff positions at the joint task force, numbered Fleet, naval component, and combatant command level afloat and ashore, to include Chief of Current Operations and Director of the Joint Operations Center at Headquarters, U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) at MacDill AFB, Florida in the days and months following the Al-Qaeda attacks of September 11, 2001.  Following assignment to the staff of the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet in Manama, Bahrain, he held aviation major command as Commodore of Tactical Air Control Group ONE in San Diego, California, leading eight active and reserve tactical air control squadrons deploying afloat and ashore worldwide. His personal decorations include multiple awards of the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal and numerous others.

Captain Philpitt returned to USCENTCOM in May 2008, accepting a civilian position as a Senior Planner in the Training & Exercises Directorate.  In this capacity, he specializes in the training and readiness of the USCENTCOM staff and USCENTCOM’s component commands, the development and execution of complex air, naval and combined arms exercises and events in the United States and overseas, and the mentoring of numerous junior and senior officers. An adjunct professor to the University of Tampa and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, his professional affiliations include The Tailhook Association, the Association of Naval Aviation, the Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association, and as an Executive Emeritus member of the American Association of Airport Executives.