Senior Military Fellow
Commander Herbert Carmen is from Rock Island, Illinois. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science in May 1990 and was designated a Naval Aviator in June 1993. After serving briefly as Assistant to the U.S. Atlantic Fleet Inspector General, he completed Fleet Replacement Training in the C-2A Greyhound in September 1994.
His first Fleet assignment was with the “Rawhides” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 40 (VRC-40) where he qualified as a C-2A Carrier Transport Plane Commander, a Special Operations Paradrop Instructor and Landing Signals Officer. He deployed aboard USS George Washington (CVN-73) in support of Operations Joint Endeavor and Southern Watch in 1996.
After cross-training in the E-2C Hawkeye, he joined the “Bluetails” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 121 (VAW-121) where he qualified as an E-2C Carrier Aircraft Plane Commander and served as the Aviation Safety Officer and Assistant Operations Officer. He deployed aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) in 1998, participating in Operation Southern Watch. He then deployed to conduct counter-narcotics missions in the Caribbean, assisting in drug seizures in excess of $40 million.
Commander Carmen then served as an E-2C Hawkeye and C-2A Greyhound Instructor Pilot with the VAW-120 “Greyhawks”, the E-2C and C-2A Fleet Replacement Squadron. He maintained currency in both aircraft and taught carrier landing techniques to over 100 U.S. and French Naval Aviators between 1999 and 2002.
In January 2002, he joined the VAW-115 “Liberty Bells” in Atsugi, Japan and served as Safety Officer and Maintenance Officer. After two Western Pacific deployments, he received the 2002 Commander, Seventh Fleet Golden Hook Award for carrier landing performance and mentorship of junior pilots. In January 2003, he deployed aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) to the Arabian Gulf and flew Airborne Battlefield Command and Control missions in support of the Army V Corps and I Marine Expeditionary Force during the initial months of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Commander Carmen joined the U.S. European Command staff in Stuttgart, Germany in December 2003. He served on several operations planning teams, and he planned and executed several initiatives in Africa including the Trans Sahara Counterterrorism Initiative and support for the African Union Mission in Sudan. He then served as Executive Officer to the Director, Command, Control, Communications and Warfighting Integration.
In November 2005, Commander Carmen became Chief Staff Officer and Operations Officer for Commander, Airborne Command Control and Logistics Wing in Point Mugu, California. He reported to the VAW-116 “Sun Kings” as Executive Officer in May 2007. He deployed to the Arabian Gulf and North Arabian Sea aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) and assumed command of VAW-116 in July 2008. The Sun Kings flew 266 command and control missions in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
Commander Carmen holds Navy subspecialties in Space Systems Operations and Joint Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence. He has flown more than 4,000 flight hours and piloted 444 carrier landings on ten aircraft carriers. His personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, five Strike/Flight Air Medals, four Navy Commendation Medals (one with Combat “V”), the Joint Service Achievement Medal, and five Navy Achievement Medals. He is married to Dr. Deborah A. Bradbard of Auburn, Alabama. They have two daughters, Sarah, age 7, and Hannah, age 5.