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CDR Dave Burnham, USN retired, was raised in Kennebunkport, Maine, where his parents still reside. His father is a former Chief Engineer in the U.S. Merchant Marine. CDR Burnham is a fourth generation Maine Lobsterman. He is a 1987 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in General Engineering. He was designated a Naval Aviator in February 1990.
CDR Burnham completed Fighter Pilot training in the F-14A with VF-101. He was assigned to the RED RIPPERS VF-11 in March 1991 where he made one Mediterranean deployment aboard USS FORRESTAL (CV 59). In February of 1992, VF-11 executed a homeport change to NAS Miramar, California and transitioned to the F-14D Super Tomcat.
In January 1994, CDR Burnham reported to the GRIM REAPERS of VF-101, serving as an instructor in the F-14A and F-14B. During his tour, he attended the Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) in the F-14A and was selected to return to MAWTS-1 in 1996 and again in March 2004 as a Staff Augment Instructor for F-14 / F/A-18F employment. He was the VF-101 Pilot of the year in 1996.
CDR Burnham reported to the BOUNTY HUNTERS of VF-2 in March 1997 flying the F-14D. He served as the Training Officer and Quality Assurance Officer. In January 1998, he became a department head for the BOUNTY HUNTERS. During this tour, he completed two Western Pacific/Arabian Gulf Deployments aboard USS CONSTELLATION (CV 64). During this time, he flew numerous combat sorties in support of OPERATION SOUTHERN WATCH.
In October 1999, CDR Burnham reported to Joint Forces Command as the Joint Chiefs of Staff Desk Officer, working as direct liaison to the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff in the design and execution of his No-Notice Interoperability Exercise (NIEX). While there, he also served as the Functional Combatant Command liaison responsible for all exercise support to U.S. Space Command, U.S. Transportation Command and U S Strategic Command. While there, he also earned civilian aviation ratings for Certified Flight Instructor, Multi-Engine Instrument airplanes and Airline Transport Pilot.
In February 2003, CDR Burnham reported back to VF-2 as the Executive Officer. He joined the squadron on the USS CONSTELLATION (CV 64) during OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM flying numerous combat missions over Iraq. CDR Burnham made history during the war by being the first pilot to drop a JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) from an F-14D Tomcat in combat. Since then, the BOUNTY HUNTERS have accomplished their homeport change to NAS Lemoore, California and redesignation to Strike Fighter Squadron TWO. CDR Burnham and VFA-2 gained their safe-for-flight certification in October 2003 and took possession of their first F/A-18F Super Hornet. He led the BOUNTY HUNTER’S on their first Super Hornet deployment aboard the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN 72) where they played a pivotal role in the 2005 tsunami relief effort in Sumatra. After his Change of Command he began the Nuclear Power training track and became a Distinguished Graduate of the Naval Nuclear Power School in Charleston, SC.
He reported as Executive Officer, USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) in Sept 07. During his 2 year tour, the ship became the first nuclear aircraft carrier to finish a major dry-docking overhaul ahead of schedule and under budget. They earned the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard Annual Safety award for superior performance, minimal accidents and zero major injuries, a first ever for a CVN. Coming out of the shipyard, John C Stennis continued to break records in training, maintenance, self-defense and warfighter evaluations. His tour culminated with a highly successful western pacific deployment.
CDR Burnham has accumulated over 5500 flight hours and has over 680 arrested landings.