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Leadership

Cmdr. Kristel Anne O'Canas

Commanding Officer USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41)

29 December 2020

Cmdr. Kristel Anne O’Canas is a native of Texas. She graduated from Boston University in Boston, MA with a BA in Psychology and was commissioned via NROTC program in May 2004.

Her first tour of duty was in San Diego, CA aboard USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), where she served as First Lieutenant. While assigned to Bunker Hill, she completed a deployment supporting Operation Enduring Freedom and also earned a Humanitarian Service Medal for the 2004 Tsunami Relief Efforts.

In April 2007, she completed the nuclear power training pipeline and reported aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). Onboard, she served as Reactor Electrical Division Officer and completed a deployment supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. While on deployment, Ronald Reagan earned a Humanitarian Service Medal for Typhoon Fengshen Relief efforts.

After completing the Department Head course at Surface Warfare Officer School, she reported as Combat Systems Officer aboard USS Kauffman (FFG 59). While onboard she completed a full FRP workup cycle, INSURV, and numerous helicopter qualifications. 

She reported to USS George Washington (CVN 73) as the prospective Main Propulsion Assistant (MPA) during the unprecedented three carrier crew swap, meeting the ship in San Diego, CA.  Onboard USS George Washington, she supported multiple Carrier Qualifications and the initial preparation and early maintenance phases of the ship’s Refueling and Complex Overhaul (RCOH).

She reported onboard USS San Antonio (LPD 17) and served as Executive Officer from June 2019-July 2020.  O'Canas assumed command of USS Whidbey Island on Sept. 10, 2020.

Ashore, she served as the Lead Common Core and Steam Engineering Instructor at Surface Warfare Officer School in Newport, RI where she qualified Master Training Specialist and earned her Master’s in International Relations from Salve Regina University. Cmdr. O’Canas’ second shore tour was at Commander Operational Test and Evaluation Force in Norfolk, VA where she served as Operational Test Director for USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78).  Her most recent shore duty was at Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic as the Force Reactor Training Assistant.

Cmdr. O’Canas’ personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (5 Awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (3 Awards), and various unit and service awards.


 
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