Lieutenant Colonel Brandon Pope grew up in Tyler, Texas and attended Texas A&M University, earning a bachelor’s degree in Geology before comissioning in the Marine Corps in 2006. After completion of The Basic School and Naval Flight Training, he reported to VMMT-204, New River, NC for MV-22B Osprey training.
Captain Pope completed MV-22B Osprey training in 2010 and reported to VMM-263 “Thunder Chickens,” where he served in various assignments in the operations and maintenance departments, deploying with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit in 2011 in support of OPERATION UNIFIED PROTECTOR in Libya and contingency operations the Middle East. In April of 2013, Captain Pope graduated from the MAWTS-1 Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) Course. He then deployed as the Pilot Training Officer for VMM-263 with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit in 2013, supporting national mission tasking in the Gulf of Aden as well as the initial response to ISIS in the early stages of OPERATION INHERENT RESOLVE.
In July of 2015, Captain Pope reported to MAWTS-1 in Yuma, Arizona for duties as an MV-22B instructor pilot. While at MAWTS-1, he was promoted to Major and served as the MAWTS-1 subject matter expert on Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP), MV-22 shipboard operations, and the MV-22 Training and Readiness syllabus. His final year he served as the MV-22B Division Head.
In July of 2018, Major Pope reported to the “White Knights” of VMM-165 in Miramar, CA. He served as the Aircraft Maintenance Officer and Operations Officer for VMM-165 where he deployed to the Middle East in support of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force - Crisis Response - Central Command 19.1. From July 2020 through June 2022, Major Pope was assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 16 as the Group Operations Officer where he simultaneously earned a MBA from New England College via distance education. In March 2022 he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and in June 2022 moved to MCB Hawaii to assume command of VMM-268 “Red Dragons”.
Lieutenant Colonel Pope has logged over 2,300 flight hours in the MV-22B. His personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal (gold star in lieu of second award), Air Medal Strike/Flight numeral 2, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (gold star in lieu of second award), and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.