James Byrd Philpitt, Captain, U.S. Navy (Retired)
Captain Jim Philpitt retired from the United States Navy in October 2007 following
over 30 years of military service, to include the Cold War and Operations
SOUTHERN WATCH, ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM.
Originally intending to be an Air Force officer, Captain Philpitt completed the Air
Force ROTC program at Florida State University in June 1977, compressing a 4-year
commissioning program and BS degree into 2 years, 9 months. When a post-
Vietnam Reduction in Force eliminated his orders to flight training prior to
graduation, he obtained a conditional release from the Air Force and reported in
June 1977 to Aviation Officer Candidate School at NAS Pensacola, Florida.
Commissioned as an Ensign in the Naval Reserve in September 1977, he reported
to flight training in January 1978 and augmented to the Regular Navy in 1981. He
also holds an MPA degree from the University of West Florida and is a graduate of
U.S. Naval War College, the Air War College and the Joint Forces Staff College.
A career Naval Flight Officer, he has logged over 3,600 flight hours in various
carrier-based and shore-based strike and reconnaissance aircraft with multiple
deployments to the Atlantic, Pacific, Mediterranean, and Persian/Arabian Gulf
theaters of operation. His operational assignments include multiple aviation
squadrons, air wings, and a ship’s company tour in air operations aboard the
aircraft carrier USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63). He has also held staff positions at the joint
task force, numbered Fleet, naval component, and combatant command level afloat
and ashore, to include Chief of Current Operations and Director of the Joint
Operations Center at Headquarters, U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) at
MacDill AFB, Florida in the days and months following the Al-Qaeda attacks of
September 11, 2001. Following assignment to the staff of the Commander, U.S.
Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5 th Fleet in Manama, Bahrain, he held aviation
major command as Commodore of Tactical Air Control Group ONE in San Diego,
California, leading eight active and reserve tactical air control squadrons deploying
afloat and ashore worldwide. His personal decorations include multiple awards of
the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal
and numerous others.
Captain Philpitt returned to USCENTCOM in May 2008, accepting a civilian position
as a Senior Planner in the Training & Exercises Directorate. In this capacity, he
specializes in the training and readiness of the USCENTCOM staff and
USCENTCOM’s component commands, the development and execution of complex
air, naval and combined arms exercises and events in the United States and
overseas, and the mentoring of numerous junior and senior officers.
An adjunct professor to the University of Tampa and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical
University, his professional affiliations include The Tailhook Association, the
Association of Naval Aviation, the Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association, and as
an Executive Emeritus member of the American Association of Airport Executives.