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Raised in Wasilla, Alaska, CDR James Steele enlisted in the Navy in 1997 as a nuclear electricians mate. While serving aboard USS Parche (SSN 683), he was accepted into the Enlisted Commissioning Program (ECP). He graduated from the University of Washington in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry. In 2009, he earned a Masters Degree in engineering management from Old Dominion University.
His sea tours include serving as the anti-submarine warfare officer aboard USS Momsen (DDG 92); reactor controls division officer aboard USS Enterprise (CVN 65); operations officer aboard USS Ford (FFG 54); and reactor training assistant aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73).
Ashore, he served as the reactor dynamics and core characteristics division director at Naval Nuclear Power School and as the rotational global force management division director for U.S. Africa Command.
His current assignment is executive officer, USS Kansas City (LCS 22).
His awards and decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (four awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards) and various unit and campaign awards.