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Commander Nelson hails from Sterling, Illinois and is a 2003 graduate of the University of Illinois with a bachelor of arts degree in geography. Following commissioning, Cmdr. Nelson reported to USS Vandegrift (FFG 48) homeported in Yokosuka, Japan where he served as the Electrical Officer and Combat Information Center Officer. There he completed multiple exercises and deployments throughout the Seventh Fleet area of responsibility (AOR).
After completion of his initial Division Officer tour, Nelson report to the High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV-2) in Ingleside, Texas. While there, he served as the Operations Officer completing deployments to the Sixth Fleet, Fifth Fleet, Seventh Fleet, and Fourth Fleet AOR.
Cmdr. Nelson then reported to the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. There he earned a master of science degree in Modeling, Virtual Environments, and Simulation (MOVES). After graduation, Nelson attended the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California earning an associate of arts degree in Spanish.
After a brief duty at Engineering Assessments Pacific in San Diego, California, Nelson returned to sea duty and reported to the USS McClusky (FFG 41) in San Diego as the Chief Engineer. There he completed a Fourth Fleet deployment, basic and intermediate phase training cycle, and a Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) Inspection.
For his second department head tour, Nelson reported to Surface Warfare Detachment Three (SUW 3) – “The Shepherds” as the Officer In Charge (OIC). While there, he embarked USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) and USS Freedom (LCS 1). While with USS Fort Worth, he sailed on her maiden deployment to the Seventh Fleet AOR.
After completion of his department head tours, Cmdr. Nelson reported to the Surface Warfare Officer School Command (SWOS) in Newport, Rhode Island. There he taught surface warfare and Littoral Combat Ship Combat Systems Trainer course of instruction.
His most recent tour was as Executive Officer aboard USS Fort Worth (LCS 3), homeported in San Diego, California where he operationalized the ship after an extended two year maintenance availability.
Cmdr. Nelson reported for duty as NTAG Heartland’s Executive Officer in August 2020.