Maj Danie N. Saaiman
Major Danie Neil Saaiman graduated from San Diego State University in December 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering. He completed Recruit Training at MCRD San Diego in May 2004 and was assigned to Weapons Company, First Battalion, Seventh Marines as an Antitank Missileman. He was deployed to Husaybah, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in August 2004. After returning from Iraq in March 2005 Corporal Saaiman was accepted into the Enlisted Commissioning Program and received his commission in March 2006. 2ndLt Saaiman graduated from The Basic School in December 2006 and reported to Undergraduate Pilot Training in Pensacola, Florida, in March 2007. He was selected for the MV-22 pipeline and received his wings in June 2009, and was assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 365.
Captain Saaiman deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) 10-2 in July 2010, serving as a schedule writer. After returning from OEF 10-2 in January 2011 Captain Saaiman was designated an Aircraft Commander, Functional Check Pilot and Section Lead. Captain Saaiman again deployed to OEF 12-1 in January 2012 as the Assistant Logistics Officer and later the Administrative Officer. During OEF 12-1 he participated in over 90 routine and named operations as an Aircraft Commander, Section Lead, and Division Lead. He logged a combined 373.8 combat hours across 165 sorties during OEF 10-2 and 12-1.
Upon returning from OEF 12-1 Captain Saaiman was designated a Low Altitude Tactics Instructor and Night Systems Instructor. He deployed again with VMM-365 in April 2013 on the unit’s first trans-Atlantic flight to Morón, Spain, as part of Special Purpose MAGTF Crisis Response (SPMAGTF-CR), where he served as the Air Combat Element’s Aircraft Maintenance Officer. During SPMAGTF-CR he was also designated as an Assault Flight Lead.
Captain Saaiman returned from SPMAGTF-CR in September 2013, and was transferred to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron (VMMT) 204 where he was appointed as the MV-22 NATOPS and Crew Resource Management Program Manager, and MV-22 NATOPS Evaluator. He was promoted to Major in April 2016, and relocated to Patuxent River, MD, to attend the United States Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS). He graduated from USNTPS Class 151 in June 2017, and joined Helicopter Test and Evaluation Squadron (HX) 21 as a member of the V-22 Integrated Test Team (ITT). He served as the ITT project officer, operations officer, and V-22 department head, and participated in experimental test flights involving disciplines such as flying qualities, performance, loads, shipboard suitability, crew systems, and digital interoperability. By the time he concluded his tour in Patuxent River, Major Saaiman had logged time in over 30 different fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft.
Major Saaiman joined the VMM-265 “Dragons” as the executive officer in July 2020. He is Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT) Level 3 certified in Dutch/Flemish, DLPT Level 4 certified in Afrikaans, DAWIA Level 2 certified in the test and evaluation occupational field, and holds a master’s degree in Systems Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School. His personal awards include the Air Medal with Bronze Numeral 7, the Navy Commendation Medal with one gold star in lieu of second award, the Navy Achievement Medal with two gold stars in lieu of third award, and the Combat Action Ribbon.