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Captain George A. Kessler, Jr.

Capt. Kessler, a native of Albany, Missouri, received his Bachelor of Science and earned his commission from the U.S. Naval Academy in June 1995. In addition, he holds a Master of Arts in National Security Affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School, is a 2009 graduate of the Joint Forces Staff College, and was a 2016 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Seminar XXI Fellow.

Kessler’s sea duty assignments include main propulsion officer and replenishment-at-sea officer, USS Supply (AOE 6); navigator and damage control assistant, USS Cape St. George (CG 71), completing a Mediterranean and Arabian Gulf deployment in support of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Fox; and commissioning weapons officer and combat systems officer, USS Mustin (DDG 89), leading the ship through its maiden deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

As a commander, he served as the pre-commissioning executive officer and then commanding officer, USS Spruance (DDG 111). While in command, Kessler led Spruance through the first training cycle, multiple fleet and international exercises, and maiden deployment to the Western Pacific where the ship received the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation and won the Battle Efficiency award.

Kessler’s most recent sea tour was as commanding officer, USS Antietam (CG 54). While in command of Antietam, he led the ship and crew through an emergent dry docking selective repair availability. Antietam also became the first ship to certify under the new Forward Deployed Naval Forces Japan training model, to certify Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group in air defense as the air defense commander, and as the task group commander for the first Exercise Pacific Vanguard, the first quadrilateral (Australia / Japan / Republic of Korea / United States) exercise in the U.S. 7th Fleet.

Ashore, he served at the Pentagon as the executive assistant to director, Strategy and Policy Division; Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle Program officer in the Protection Assessment Division to the Joint Staff Force Structure, Resources, and Assessment Directorate as part of the Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense Organization (JIAMDO); and JIAMDO’s Theater Missile Warning and Command, Control and Communications branch chief. As the Asia-Pacific Section chief for the International Engagement Directorate, he led the working group responsible for developing the U.S.-China Rules of Behavior for the Safety of Air and Maritime Encounters Confidence Building Measure. He also served as the senior advisor for maritime strategy and security to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asia Pacific Security Affairs, and most recently, he was the Maritime Operations Center director for U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet.

He reported as commodore, Surface Combat Systems Training Command (SCSTC) in January 2022.

Kessler’s personal awards include the Legion of Merit (three awards), Defense Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), and various unit, campaign, and service awards.

Last Updated: 4 March 2022

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