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Lieutenant Colonel William T. Paxton

Lieutenant Colonel William T. Paxton hails from rural farm country in Berlin, Pennsylvania, where he was raised. He attended the United States Naval Academy and graduated in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering and lettered 4 years on the varsity wrestling team.

Upon graduation, Lieutenant Colonel Paxton was commissioned a Second Lieutenant and reported to The Basic School in July of 2005. He was designated a naval aviator in July of 2008, and then reported to VFA-106 in Virginia Beach, VA to learn to fly the F/A-18 in August of 2008.

In July 2009, Lieutenant Colonel Paxton reported to MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina where he was assigned to VMFA-312 as part of CVW-3 in preparation for a deployment. In spring 2010 the “Checkerboards” deployed on the USS HARRY S TRUMAN (CVN 75) supporting coalition forces in Afghanistan for Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. While on deployment, he attended a training detachment to Jordan to fly in the Falcon Air Meet 2010. Lieutenant Colonel Paxton finished this tour in
2012 as the Pilot Training Officer, preparing the unit for a follow-on carrier deployment.

In November 2012, Lieutenant Colonel Paxton joined 2d Battalion, 8th Marines as a Forward Air Controller and would serve as the Battalion Air Officer. The unit deployed to Afghanistan in April 2013 in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. Lieutenant Colonel Paxton had the opportunity to work with British Task Force 528 and Afghan National Army soldiers during the coalition force drawdown.

In November 2013, Lieutenant Colonel Paxton returned to MCAS Beaufort to join VMFA- 251 as they began CVW-1 workups in preparation for a 10 month around-the-world deployment. The “Thunderbolts” embarked on the USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN 71), supporting Operation INHERENT RESOLVE. This was a successful combat deployment supporting 5th FLEET operations in the Arabian Gulf in 2015. Lieutenant Colonel Paxton served as the Quality Assurance Officer and Assistant
Operations Officer.

In January of 2016, Lieutenant Colonel Paxton transitioned to the F-35B at VMFAT-501 in Beaufort, South Carolina and then joined the instructor cadre. While at VMFAT-501, Lieutenant Colonel Paxton was designated a Mission Commander and F-35 Instructor Pilot. He served in the maintenance, safety, and training departments, completing his time with the unit as the Chief Instructor Pilot.

Lieutenant Colonel Paxton affiliated with the reserve component in November 2019 where he continued to instruct at VMFAT-501 and assisted in the standup of VMFAT-502. In civilian industry he flies for UPS Airlines and is a part-time F-35 Contract Instructor Pilot. Additionally, he works with VALOR Foundation which is a youth mentoring organization in Beaufort, SC.

Lieutenant Colonel Paxton’s personal awards include: Bronze Star with Combat Distinguishing Device, Air Medal (Strike/Flight) with a bronze numeral 2, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon.