Commander Drew Ballinger, of Ellicott City, MD, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in May 1998 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Ocean Engineering. He completed pilot training in Pensacola, FL (VT-2), Corpus Christi, TX (VT-31), and Meridian, MS (VT-9), and was designated a Naval Aviator in December 2000.
Following E-2 Hawkeye fleet replacement training, Commander Ballinger reported to the "Seahawks" of VAW-126 stationed in Norfolk, VA. He deployed twice between 2002 and 2005 to the Mediterranean Sea and Persian Gulf onboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) in support of Operations IRAQI FREEDOM and ENDURING FREEDOM and served as a Wing qualified Landing Signals Officer. While at VAW-126, Commander Ballinger was awarded Hawkeye Pilot of the Year for 2004.
Commander Ballinger was selected to attend the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School in Patuxent River, MD and graduated with Class 129 in June 2006. Following graduation, he was assigned to VX-20 as a test pilot and project officer for the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. He then moved to St. Augustine, FL, when the E-2D Integrated Test Team detached to the Northrop Grumman Corporation E-2 manufacturing facility in support of initial E-2D flight test and continued work on the program until delivery of both E-2D System Development and Demonstration aircraft to Patuxent River in August 2009. While at VX-20, Commander Ballinger was awarded VX-20 Test Pilot of the Year for 2007.
In October 2009, Commander Ballinger reported to the "Goldenhawks" of VAW-112 stationed in Point Mugu, CA, and served as a squadron department head. He deployed to the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea onboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) in support of Operations NEW DAWN and ENDURING FREEDOM in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In April 2012, Commander Ballinger reported to PMA-231 in Patuxent River, MD, and served as Integrated Product Team Co-Lead for the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Aerial Refueling development program. He was designated an Aerospace Engineering Duty Officer in December 2012.
Commander Ballinger has served as the VX-30 Chief Test Pilot since February 2015. He has accumulated over 3,000 flight hours in 24 aircraft and over 300 carrier arrested landings is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. He is the proud father of his son, Nick, and daughter, Anna.
Last Update 26-Feb-2015 17:18