Military Bios

Vice Admiral John G. Cotton:

Military Branch:United States Navy
Position: Chief of Navy Reserve Commander, Navy Reserve Force
Vice Admiral Cotton graduated from the U. S. Naval Academy in June 1973 with a degree in Aerospace Engineering. Earning his wings in October 1974, he became a third generation pilot his father was a Naval Aviator and his grandfather flew with the Lafayette Flying Corps in WW I. He was forward deployed to Japan, 1975-1978, flying the A-7 Corsair II with VA-93 aboard USS Midway (CV-41), and then served on the Commander Light Attack Wing U.S. Pacific Fleet staff at NAS Lemoore, Calif., 1978-1980.
Becoming a commercial airline pilot, he affiliated with the Navy Reserve at NAF Washington, D.C., later flying with VA-2082, the A-7B augment unit at NAS New Orleans, 1981-1982, and then with the Navy's last RF-8G Crusader squadrons, VFP-306 and VFP-206, 1982-1987. Returning to VA-2082, he became CO in 1988.
In 1989, he joined VA-204 in New Orleans, completed FA-18 Hornet strike fighter and adversary pilot transition training in 1991, and commanded the VFA-204 "River Rattlers" from July 1993 to September 1994. The squadron received the 1993 CNO Safety "S" Award completing 13 years of major mishap free operations, the 1994 Battle "E" and F. Trubee Davison Award as the top reserve tailhook squadron, and a CNO Meritorious Unit Commendation.
From 1994-1996, he was CO NAS Keflavik 1066 at NAF Washington, and received the Rear Admiral Stanley David Griggs "Excellence in Leadership" Memorial Award. He was then CO Navy Command Center 106 at the Pentagon, and also served as an instructor at the Command Leadership School at NETC Newport, RI.
Vice Adm. Cotton's initial Flag assignment was Deputy Commander Naval Air Force U.S. Atlantic Fleet, 1997-1999. Recalled to active duty, he also served as Deputy Commander Joint Task Force Southwest Asia, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, supporting Operation Southern Watch and Desert Thunder.
At the Pentagon in 1999-2000, he was again recalled to active duty as Deputy Chief of Navy Reserve N095B. He then served as Assistant Deputy Chief of Naval Operations Warfare Requirements and Programs N6/N7R, and was a member of the SECDEF Reserve Forces Policy Board, 2000-2003.
Following nomination by the President and Senate confirmation, Vice Adm. Cotton took a leave of absence from American Airlines in October 2003 to return to active duty as Chief of Navy Reserve and Commander Navy Reserve Force.
Personal awards include the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service, Meritorious Service, Navy Commendation, and Navy Achievement Medals. He has over 4200 hours of military flight time and is a graduate of Executive and Reserve Component programs at the Naval War College, Naval Postgraduate School, National Defense University, Army War College, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Updated: 5 October 2004


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