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Leadership

Cmdr. Kristel Anne O’Canas

Commanding Officer, USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41)

18 May 2021

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

Her first tour of duty was in San Diego, California, aboard USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), where she served as 1st 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). Aboard, she served as the 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 the combat systems officer aboard USS Kauffman (FFG 59). While aboard, she completed a full FRP workup cycle, INSURV, and numerous helicopter qualifications. 

She then 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.  Aboard 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 aboard USS San Antonio (LPD 17) and served as the executive Officer from June 2019-July 2020. She reported to USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41) and assumed command in September 2020.

Ashore, she served as the lead common core and steam engineering nistructor at Surface Warfare Officer School in Newport, Rhode Island, where she qualified as a 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, Virginia, where she served as the 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 Ttraining assistant.

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

 


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