VX-31 Website

Command Biographies

James Coppersmith
VX-31Technical Director
(U.S. Navy Photo)

James Coppersmith, Technical Director, VX-31

Mr. James Coppersmith, a native of Bellville, OH, graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. Following graduation, he served in the United States Marine Corps and completed a career of 24 years, retiring in May 2016. He transitioned to government civilian service in June 2016.

Mr. Coppersmith is a 2002 graduate of the United States Navy Test Pilot School (Class 121) and a graduate of the Marine Aviation Tactics and Weapons Squadron- 1 (MAWTS-1) Weapons and Tactics Instructor course (WTI 2-2004) in the AV-8B Harrier II+ aircraft. He is a member of Defense Acquisition Corps and served as a Professional Aviation Acquisition Officer (MOS 8059) in the United States Marine Corps from 2006 until his retirement from active duty.

Mr. Coppersmith’s operational experience included Fleet Marine Forces assignments with the VMA-214 “Blacksheep” from 1996 through 2000 at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, AZ where he served as a Division Maintenance Officer, Intelligence Officer, Operations Officer, and as a VSTOL Training Landing Signals Officer. He deployed with HMM-364(REIN), 13th MEU(SOC) aboard the USS BOXER (LHD-4) and again with the 13th MEU(SOC) while attached to HMM-161(REIN) aboard the USS TARAWA (LHA-1). In June of 2000, Mr. Coppersmith was assigned to Class 121 at the US Naval Test Pilot School.

Upon graduating from the US Naval Test Pilot School in June 2001, Mr. Coppersmith was assigned as an Operational Test Director (OTD) at VX-9 where he executed the Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL) of the first Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) capable Operational Flight Program (OFP) for the AV-8B. During this assignment, Mr. Coppersmith attended Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course as a student and concurrently led a Tactics Development and Evaluation (TAC D&E) effort that introduced JDAM tactics to AV-8B Fleet squadrons. In June 2003, Mr. Coppersmith was reassigned to VX-31 and the AV-8B Joint Systems Support Activity (JSSA).

With the AV-8B JSSA, Mr. Coppersmith served as an AV-8B Developmental Test Pilot and Project Officer for a multitude of test programs that spanned the full spectrum of flight testing inclusive of aircraft performance, propulsion and power systems, and weapons systems integration. Mr. Coppersmith additionally served as the Operations Officer for AIRTEVRON THREE ONE (VX-31) from March 2005 through December 2005.

In January 2006, Mr. Coppersmith was selected for the Marine Corps’ Acquisition Management Primary Military Occupational Specialty. He was assigned to PMA-257 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD as the AV-8B aircraft Assistant Program Manager for Systems Engineering and as the AV-8B US Military Deputy Program Manager in a multi-nation joint development and sustainment program.
In June 2009, Mr. Coppersmith was assigned to the Marine Aviation Detachment China Lake-Point Mugu, CA as the detachment’s Executive Officer and additionally served as the Pacific Ranges Chief Test Pilot. In July 2014, Mr. Coppersmith assumed the duties of the Officer in Charge of the Marine Aviation Detachment until his retirement in June 2016.

Mr. Coppersmith left active duty at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel having flown over 2,200 mishap-free flight hours in over 35 different aircraft. His personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. He currently serves as Technical Director for VX-31. He resides in Ridgecrest, CA with his wife Dalisia, who serves as the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapon Division’s Lead for Organizational Development.

Last Update 18-Aug-2016 11:08