Colonel David Steele is a 1995 graduate of George Mason University. Commissioned from the PLC program, he graduated The Basic School in 1996. Colonel Steele completed flight training and was winged a Naval Aviator in October 1997. His first fleet assignment was with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 169, Camp Pendleton CA from 1998 to 2002. During this period, he deployed to Okinawa, Japan in support of the Unit Deployment Program, and with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), where he participated in the initial seizure of Forward Operating Base Rhino, Afghanistan in support of Task Force 58.
From May 2002 until October 2004, Colonel Steele was assigned to HMT-303 as an AH-1W Instructor Pilot and served as the Quality Assurance Officer and the AH-1W NATOPS Officer. In November 2004, Colonel Steele reported to Marine Helicopter Squadron (HMX) One in Quantico, Virginia, where he flew the VH-3D, VH-60N, and CH-46E. Colonel Steele served as a White House Liaison Officer and as a Command Pilot, responsible for Presidential advance travel coordination and flying the Vice President, and numerous heads of state, including Pope Benedict XVI, during his 2008 visit to New York City.
From 2008-2011, Colonel Steele returned to HMLA-169 where he served as the Squadron’s Logistics Officer, Maintenance Officer, and Executive Officer during his three year tour, deploying twice in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM to Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Colonel Steele returned to TBS in July 2011 as the Executive Officer until taking command of MAG-49 Detachment (A), Robins AFB, GA. Following command, Colonel Steele attended the Air War College in Montgomery, Alabama and received a Master’s Degree in Strategic Studies. After graduation, Colonel Steele was assigned to US Central Command, Tampa FL, where he served as the Central Asia Branch Chief in the Training and Exercise Directorate (CCJ7). Selected for promotion, Colonel Steele was re-assigned to III MEF, where he served as the III MEF G37.
Colonel Steele has logged over 4000 hours in numerous aircraft throughout his career. His personal decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with three gold stars, Air Medal with Strike/Flight Numeral “10”, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.