Through the Pipeline – A Pilot’s Journey

CDR Erik Franzen

CDR Erik Franzen

CDR Franzen is a native of Southern California. He graduated from San Diego State University in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies and was commissioned through the NROTC program. He received his wings of gold at the “Cradle of Naval Aviation,” Pensacola, Fla. in September 1994. He then transferred to VAW-120, the E-2C/C-2A Fleet Replacement Squadron, was selected to fly the Hawkeye, and his training culminated in day and night carrier qualifications in the E-2C. He was next assigned to VAW-117 out of Miramar, Calif. and made two deployments with the Wallbangers, participating in Operation Southern Watch aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) and Operation Desert Fox while aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). CDR Franzen then reported to VT-22 at NAS Kingsville, Texas. He instructed student Naval Aviators in intermediate and advanced phases of flight training flying the T-45 Goshawk. While with VT-22 he participated in many Weapons Detachments to NAF El Centro, Calif. and in the three years as an Instructor Pilot he accumulated more than 1,000 hours in the Goshawk. Following his tour in Kingsville, CDR Franzen transitioned from the E-2C to the C-2A Greyhound. He did his transition training back in Norfolk, VA with VAW-120 before heading west again to join VRC-30 in San Diego, Calif. for his Department Head tour. In March 2003 he deployed as the

An Arleigh Burke class destroyer recieveiving its ordance loadout at NWS CDR Erik Franzen Seal Beach

An Arleigh Burke class destroyer
recieveiving its ordance loadout at NWS
CDR Erik Franzen Seal Beach

Officer in Charge of Detachment Three aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Upon his return from deployment he finished his Department Head tour as the Operations Officer for VRC-30. CDR Franzen then reported back to VAW-120 in Norfolk, Va. and served from June 2005 until June 2007 as the Fleet Replacement Squadron Operations Officer during which time he conducted ten carrier qualification detachments. His next two assignments were staff jobs with the VAW/VRC Wing where he served as the Operations Officer from July 2007 until July 2009 and then as the E-2C/C-2A/C-12/C-26 Readiness Officer for Commander Naval Air Forces in San Diego.

Following his tour in San Diego he spent four years in the desert at NAF El Centro where he was first assigned as the Executive Officer and then in July 2013 he took over as the Commanding Officer. CDR Franzen has accumulated over 3,000 flight hours and 300 carrier arrested landings. His personal decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, three Navy Commendation Medals, the Navy Achievement Medal and various campaign and unit awards.


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