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Commander John “Freeride” Coombs of Truckee, California graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science Degree in ocean engineering and was commissioned as an ensign in May 2005. Following commissioning, Cmdr. Coombs attended the University of Wyoming and in April 2007 graduated with a Master of Science Degree in civil engineering. Following graduation, Coombs reported to Pensacola, Florida for aviation training and earned his wings of gold as an unrestricted Naval aviator in November of 2008.
Commander Coombs reported to the Air Wolves of HSL-40 in Mayport, Florida for training in the SH-60B Seahawk.
Cmdr. Coombs’ first fleet assignment was in Atsugi, Japan with the Warlords of HSL-51. While assigned to the Warlords, he deployed on four different ships across Southeast Asia serving as detachment admin, training, operations and maintenance officers, and as the squadron AV/ARM division officer and NATOPS officer.
In December of 2012, Coombs reported to HSC-3 Merlins and HSM-41 Seahawks to transition to the MH-60 Sierra and Romeo.
In March of 2013 Commander Coombs reported to Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center in Fallon, Nevada to join the SEAWOLF staff. While assigned to Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, he became a weapons and tactics instructor, mountain flying instructor, and Air Wing Fallon instructor. Cmdr. Coombs was the electronic warfare subject matter expert and served as the aircrew division officer and the SEAWOLF program manager.
Following the completion of his tour with SEAWOLF in February of 2016, Cmdr. Coombs joined the Wolf Pack of HSM-75. As a member of the Wolf Pack, he served as the Detachment ONE officer-in-charge, squadron operations officer, and squadron maintenance officer supporting Carrier Strike Group ELEVEN’s 2017 deployment to support Operation Inherent Resolve aboard the USS Nimitz (CVN 68).
At the completion of his tour with the Wolf Pack in November of 2018, Coombs reported to United States Northern Command in Colorado Springs, Colorado where he served as part of the civil support staff and the crisis division staff supporting defense support of civil authorities and crisis response.
Commander Coombs reported to Navy Talent Acquisition Group Rocky Mountain as the executive officer in November 2020 and assumed command in ceremonies conducted 5 May 2022.
Cmdr. Coombs has accumulated over 2000 flight hours in four variants of the H-60 helicopter.