LtCol Andrew Kelemen
Lieutenant Colonel Kelemen grew up in a Marine family and lived all over, but claims Texas as his home. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on August 11, 2000, after graduating from Texas A&M University. He attended The Basic School from the fall of 2000 to the spring of 2001, whereupon he reported to NAS Pensacola, Florida to begin his journey of becoming a Naval Aviator.
After completing Aviation Pre-flight Indoctrination in Pensacola, he attended primary aviation training in Corpus Christi, Texas. He moved a little further up the road to Kingsville, Texas for advanced jet training. Finally, he ended up in San Diego at VMFAT-101 and was designated as an F/A-18 Pilot in 2004.
First Lieutenant Kelemen received orders to VMFA-232, directly across the flight line at MAG-11 and served as a schedules writer and operations flight officer. While assigned to the Red Devils, he deployed to OIF on the USS Nimitz and flew multiple combat missions while accumulating over 150 traps aboard the ship.
After his first fleet tour he received orders to MWSS-373 as the Airfield Operations Company Commander and again deployed back to OIF at Al Taqaddum airfield. Captain Kelemen successfully led his company of Marines in support of combat operations spread out in 5 different bases across Al Anbar Province.
Captain Kelemen then reported to VMFA-212 in Iwakuni, Japan. During his short tour with the Lancers, he assisted in the cadre of the squadron and moved on to VMFA(AW)-242. He served as the S-1 officer and Adjutant for both of the squadrons and assumed the Quality Assurance Officer role with 242. While with these two squadrons he deployed to numerous places in the Pacific and participated in multiple unilateral exercises.
He then moved across the flight line to H&HS Iwakuni and flew the UC-12F and W models. He accumulated over 1000 hours in the C-12 in his two year tour with H&HS, serving as the VMR Det OIC, DOSS, ASO, Pilot Training Officer, and Ground Training Officer.
After his four year tour in the Far East, he moved back to Southern California and joined 3D ANGLICO. He pinned on Major and learned a lot about the reserve side of the Marine Corps. He participated in multiple exercises, and worked up two different attachments that were deployed to OEF and the Black Sea Rotational Force. He was also sent to Army Airborne training and received his Gold Navy Parachute Wings for completing the required parachute jumps and more throughout his tour.
Major Kelemen received orders back to the cockpit of the Hornet, and was sent to refresh at VFA-106. He joined VMFA-112 while on UDP, and completed his OPSO and AMO tours during the three year tour as one of the few active duty pilots in that squadron. He participated in multiple work up periods for different Special Forces units to meet required pre deployment training, and also helped numerous Marine Corps Hornet squadrons with maintenance, training and readiness prior to their deployments. While with the Cowboys, he assisted in almost every Marine Division Tactics Course and two WTI courses, along with support to VMFAT-501 for their air to air training.
After that tour he found his way back to VMFAT-101, became one of the Instructor Pilots, and was placed in the Safety shop as the Ground Safety Officer for a short period of time and then became the Director of Safety and Standardization. While there, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and slated for command of VMFA(AW)-242.
His personal awards include the Navy Commendation Medal with three Gold Stars, and Humanitarian Service Medal.