MCAS Miramar Staff
Col. John P. Farnam
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Col. Farnam received his Bachelor's degree from San Diego State University and was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1990. He was designated a Naval Flight Officer in April, 1993.
Col. Farnam completed Fleet Replacement Squadron training for the F/A-18D Hornet at VMFAT-101, MCAS El Toro, CA, and reported to Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron VMFA(AW)-533 at MCAS Beaufort, S.C., in December 1994. While with the Hawks, he deployed twice to Aviano, Italy in support of Operations: DENY FLIGHT, DECISIVE ENDEAVOR, DELIBERATE FORCE and DELIBERATE GUARD.
While serving with the Hawks, Col. Farnam was designated a Mission Commander, Weapons and Tactics Instructor, Forward Air Controller (Airborne) Instructor, Tactical Air Coordinator (Airborne) Instructor, Air Combat Tactics Instructor and Night Systems Instructor.
In August 1998, Col. Farnam was ordered to instructor duty at Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) in Yuma AZ. There he served as an F/A-18 Instructor WSO. In that same year, he was selected as the Marine Corps Naval Flight Officer of the Year.
In 1999, Col. Farnam augmented MAG-31 Forward and deployed to Taszar, Hungary in support of Operation: ALLIED FORCE, flying with VMFA (AW)-533.
Col. Farnam was again transferred to VMFA(AW)-533 at MCAS Beaufort from 2001 to 2004.There he served as the Operations Officer and the Aircraft Maintenance Officer. During this assignment, he deployed with the squadron to Ahmed Al-Jaber Air Base in support of Operations: SOUTHERN WATCH and IRAQI FREEDOM.
In July 2004, Col. Farnam reported to Aviation Weapons and Requirements divisions, Headquarters Marine Corps. There he served as the Aviation Requirements Officer for the F/A-18, Litening Targeting Pod, Aviation Training Systems and Aviation Flight Equipment programs.
Col. Farnam assumed command of VMFA(AW)-533 in April 2007. During his tenure, he led the Hawks in a Western Pacific deployment to Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
In 2009, Col. Farnam reported to the National War College in Washington, D.C. Upon graduation, he was assigned to the Joint Staff as the Branch Chief for Global Posture, Strategy and Plans, J8. In July 2011, he was assigned as the Deputy Division Chief for Forces Division, J8.
His personal decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, two Meritorious Service Medals, two Air Medals (with combat "V") and the Strike Flight Award with Numeral 7.
Lt. Col. Thomas C. Fries
Command Executive Officer
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Lt. Col. Thomas C. Fries received a Bachelor's degree from Temple University and a master's degree from Marine Corps University. Commissioned on December 13, 1991, 2nd Lt. Fries attended The Basic School and subsequently reported to Naval Aviation Schools Command in Pensacola, Fla., for Aviation Indoctrination. Flight training was completed at Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Fla., flying the T-34C, and at Naval Air Station Meridian, Miss., flying the T-2C and TA-4J aircraft.
1st Lt. Fries received his wings on December 15, 1994 and completed transition training to the F/A-18 with VFA-125 at NAS Lemoore, Calif. Reporting to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C., in February 1996, he was assigned to Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 553. With this squadron, Capt. Fries deployed to Aviano, Italy, Iwakuni, Japan and also to Taszar, Hungary for combat missions over Serbia and Kosovo. During his tour with VMFA(AW)-533, Capt. Fries attended Navy Strike Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN). Jobs held were Schedules Officer, NATOPS Officer and Pilot Training Officer.
In January 2000, Capt. Fries received orders to 2nd Battalion Landing Team Air Officer, 26th MEU (SOC), LF6F 3-00 onboard the USS Saipan deploying to the Mediterranean Sea.
In February 2001 Capt. Fries reported to Marine Aircraft Group 11 at MCAS Miramar and Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232. With VMFA-232, Capt. Fries deployed to Japan, Guam and also to Kuwait to fly combat missions in support of Operation: Iraqi Freedom in 2003. During his tour with the Red Devils, Maj. Fries worked as the Logistics Officer, the Operations Officer and the Aircraft Maintenance Officer.
In March 2004, Maj. Fries reported to Marine Aircraft Group 11 to be assigned to MAG Operations as the Weapons and Tactics Officer. Maj. Fries reported to Command and Staff College, Quantico, VA in June 2004; follow-on orders were to Headquarters Marine Corps, Pentagon, as the Joint Strike Fighter Requirements Officer (APW-21).
In June 2008, Lt. Col. Fries reported to VFA 106 at NAS Oceana for F/A-18 refresh upon completion, LT. Col. Fries reported to 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, San Diego, Calif., and subsequently to 3rd MAW (FWD) in Al Asad, Iraq as the Wing Future Operations Officer. Lt. Col. Fries reported to H&HS Miramar in March 2012 as Department Head, Environmental Management Office and then, in April 2012, Executive Officer, MCAS Miramar. With H&HS, Lt. Col. Fries also pilots the UC-35 and augmented the VMR Det. (FWD) at Al Udeid Airbase, Qatar in 2011. Lt. Col. Fries is also adjunct professor for Marine Corps University College of Distance Education and Training.
Lt. Col. Fries' personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal Seventh Strike/Flight award, Navy/Marine Corps Commendation with two gold stars and two combat "V", and a Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
Sgt. Maj. Bonnie L. Skinner
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Sgt. Maj. Skinner enlisted in the Marine Corps in July 1985. She attended recruit training at Parris Island, S.C., and graduated in September. After completion of recruit training she attended Supply Administrative School, Camp Johnson, Jacksonville, N.C.
While serving in the Marine Corps, Sgt. Maj. Skinner has had the opportunity to serve in various billets and at numerous duty stations. Her first duty station she reported to Headquarters Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, Camp Courtney. She also served at Camp Lejeune, N.C., with Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, Marine Corps Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C., Camp H.M. Smith Hawaii with Marine Forces Pacific, Marine Corps Base Hawaii with Combat Service Support Group 3, Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 24 and HMH-363 (Lucky Red Lions) Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.
Throughout her career, Sgt. Maj. Skinner served in various billets and leadership capacities. In her primary MOS, she served as a Supply Administrative clerk. She also served as a Corporals Course Instructor, senior Drill Instructor, Series Chief Drill Instructor, Instructor at Drill Instructor School, MCRD, Parris Island, S.C., Company Gunnery Sergeant prior to transitioning into the 8999 (9999) First Sergeant/Sergeant Major MOS.
Sgt. Maj. Skinner has participated in numerous training exercises and unit deployments in Japan, Korea, Bridgeport, Norway, Hawaii, Yuma and real world deployments such as Operations: Desert Shield/Storm 1990-1991 and multiple deployments in support of Operations: Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom 2002/2003, 2005/2006, 2008/2009.
As a first sergeant, she was deployed with Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa, Djibouti, served with Headquarters and Service Battalion, Camp H.M. Smith Hawaii, deployed with Provisional Security Battalion, 4th Low Altitude Air Defense Battery, Pasadena, Calif., in support of Operation: Iraqi Freedom, served with Maintenance Company, Combat Service Support Group 3 and Supply Company, Combat Service Support Group 3, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
Promoted to her present rank of sergeant major, her assignments include Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 24 (MALS-24) Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, HMH-363 (Lucky Red Lions) and deployed in support of Operation: Iraqi Freedom, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., with the first F-35B (Joint Strike Fighter) unit (VMFAT-501) Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. Coming with her from Eglin AFB is Cpl. Molly STOVL (an English bulldog who was the mascot) and now taking the sword of office as MCAS Miramar, Marine Corps Installations West.
She is a graduate of Expeditionary Warfare Course, Keystone Course for Senior Enlisted Leaders at National Defense University, Washington, D.C., and has completed her first year of Command and Staff Seminar.
Her personal awards include Meritorious Service Medal (4th award), Air Medal with 1 strike, Joint Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3rd award), Military Outstanding Service Medal and various other service and unit awards.