Major Whitesel hails from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and attended
Officer Candidates School through the Platoon Leaders Class during the
summers of 2006 and 2007. He received his commission as a Second Lieutenant
after earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Temple University in
After commissioning, Lieutenant Whitesel served at the Officer Selection
Office Philadelphia prior to attending The Basic School. Following
graduation with Bravo Company in June of 2009, he was enrolled in the
Introductory Flight Screening program at Manassas, Virginia. Upon
completion, he and his family transferred to Marine Aviation Training
Support Group 21 (MATSG-21) to begin flight training in Pensacola, Florida.
While at MATSG-21, Lieutenant Whitesel attended the Aviation Maintenance
Officer Course at Whiting Field, and became a 6002 prior to flight training.
Lieutenant Whitesel completed flight training at VT-6 and VT-7, conducting
carrier qualification aboard the USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH (CVN-77). Lieutenant
Whitesel was designated a Naval Aviator in February of 2012, and transferred
to Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia for F/A-18 training. Captain Whitesel
completed the Fleet Replacement Squadron syllabus at VFA-106 by conducting
carrier qualification again aboard the USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH (CVN-77). Upon
graduation, Captain Whitesel received orders to the "Thunderbolts" of
VMFA-251 in Beaufort, South Carolina in the summer of 2013.
While a "Thunderbolt", Captain Whitesel served as a Schedules Officer,
Logistics Officer, Quality Assurance Officer, and Landing Signals Officer.
Captain Whitesel completed a full set of work-ups and a combat deployment
with VMFA-251, attached to Carrier Air Wing One (CVW-1), aboard the USS
THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN-71). The "Thunderbolts" and CVW-1 flew in support
of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE in Iraq and Syria, and conducted a
circumnavigation of the globe prior to returning home.
Upon return from cruise, Captain Whitesel attended Tactical Air Control
Party School, and transferred to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina in the summer
of 2016. Captain Whitesel reported to Second Reconnaissance Battalion, and
served as the Force Reconnaissance Company Air Officer until the summer of
2017. Captain Whitesel and his family then transferred back to Beaufort,
South Carolina for duty with the "Silver Eagles" of VMFA-115.
While a "Silver Eagle", Captain Whitesel served as the Director of Safety
and Standardization and Adjutant. The Silver Eagles supported an Integrated
Training Exercise (ITX) for pre-deployment work-up, and deployed to Sheikh
Isa Air Base, Bahrain in April of 2018. Major Whitesel and the "Silver
Eagles" flew in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE in Iraq and Syria.
Major Whitesel was selected for F-35B conversion, and returned to Beaufort
for training at the "Warlords" of VMFAT-501 in September of 2018.
While at VMFAT-501, Major Whitesel completed the F-35B conversion syllabus,
renewed his legacy flight leadership designations, and completed the Fleet
Replacement Squadron Instructor (FRSI) syllabus prior to beginning duty as
an FRSI. Major Whitesel served as the Logistics and Communication Officer,
Powerline Officer, and Assistant Operations Officer. While a "Warlord",
Major Whitesel completed the F-35 Instructor Pilot qualification and Mission
Commander designation, and ultimately contributed to the training of over
150 F-35 pilots. Major Whitesel and his family then transferred to Iwakuni,
Japan for duty with the "Green Knights" of VMFA-121 in the summer of 2022.
Upon arrival, Major Whitesel returned to the states to attend the Weapons
and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course, and graduated with Class 1-23.
As a "Green Knight", Major Whitesel serves as the Executive Officer, and
looks forward to flying the F-35B underway. He has accrued over 1,500
flight hours and 130 carrier arrested landings. He is married to the former
Nora Harris of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and they have four sons
together named Collin James, Caleb Monitor, Charles Richard, and Clark