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Commander W. David Place (USN RET), UAS Systems Expert

Photo: Commander W. David Place

Commander W. David Place (USN/Ret) earned his commission through the Navy Enlisted Scientific Education Program and graduated from the University of Utah in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics.  He subsequently attended flight training where he received his designation as a Naval Flight Officer.

David Place served in several ASW Patrol Squadrons during his career. He also attended the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California where he earned a Master of Arts Degree in National Security Affairs.

Additionally, he served on several Fleet Staffs, and during his assignment as the Administrative Officer for Air Test and Evaluation Squadron ONE (VX-1) he was selected as the 1986 Naval Air Test Center Officer of the Year and received the prestigious Admiral Merlin O’Neill Award.

He reported as the Executive Officer of VC-6 in 1992 and assumed Command in January 1994.  His tour as Commanding Officer was highlighted by VC-6’s receipt of two Golden Anchor Awards and two Battle Efficiency Awards. He also served as the Combat Direction Center (CDC) Officer on board USS AMERICA (CV 66). He was then assigned to the staff of Commander, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, where as an Operations Analyst, he was responsible for Aviation Readiness and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle requirements.  Commander Place completed his military career as the Officer in Charge of the Southern California Offshore Range, in San Diego.

Commander Place was awarded the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal (4 awards), the Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal (4 awards) and numerous other ribbons and medals.

Following his retirement from the Navy, he worked as an Operations Analyst in the Requirements Department at Commander, Naval Surface Force.  There, he coordinated the review of all JCIDS documents and provided recommendations that addressed Navy requirements for all variants of unmanned vehicles.

David Place is currently a Research Associate with the Naval Postgraduate School.  He serves as a Technical Advisor to Commander, Third Fleet where he provides assessments regarding UAS capabilities and requirements, and functions as an Unmanned Systems liaison between Fleet operators, academia and industry partners.

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