Thomas “Gunz” Decker


CWO4 Thomas “Gunz” Decker was born in Decatur, Georgia on February 21, 1968. At very young age, his family moved to Fort Pierce, Florida where he graduated from Westwood High School in June 1986. Upon graduation he attended Recruit Training at RTC Orlando, Florida in September 1986 and from there proceeded to Aviation Ordnanceman “A” School in Millington, Tennessee. In January 1987, Gunner reported to Naval Air Station Lemoore, California Aircraft Intermediated Maintenance Department for duty. Following his tour at Naval Air Station, he was transferred to Attack Squadron 128 for organizational-level training. Upon completion of training, he was assigned in November 1989 to his first fleet sea duty with the Knightriders of Attack Squadron 52 at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington. There he completed three deployments to the Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf deploying onboard the USS Carl Vinson CVN-70 and USS Kitty Hawk CV-63. During his tenure with the Knightriders, he advanced to Petty Officer First Class and attained his Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist.

In March of 1995 he then reported to the Medium Attack Weapons School Pacific where he served as an instructor for both the A-6 and EA-6B conventional and nuclear weapons loading. During his tenure at the weapons school, Gunner Decker was designated as a Master Training Specialist.

February of 1998, Gunner Decker found himself being shipped overseas to become a member of Black Knights of VF-154 who was assigned to Carrier Air Wing Five. Shortly after arriving he was promoted to Chief Aviation Ordnanceman and saw him making an inner wing transfer to the Dam Busters of VFA-195 for his ordnance Leading Chief Petty Officer assignment. During his tenure with the Black Knights and Dam Busters he completed four deployments to the Sea of Japan and the Arabian Gulf region deploying onboard USS Independence CV-62 and again on USS Kitty Hawk CV-63. Also during his tour he was selected to the Chief Warrant Officer program.

In August 2001, Gunner Decker was commissioned as a Chief Warrant Officer and reported to the Black Aces of Fighter Squadron 41, which became Strike Fighter Squadron 41. While there he completed two deployments aboard the USS Nimitz CVN-68 including another tour to the gulf for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

November 2005 saw Gunner Decker moving to the Eagles of Strike Fighter Squadron 122, which is responsible for training of new pilots as part of the Fleet Replacement Squadron duties in route to their first fleet squadrons. With a short tour their, Gunner Decker reported in July 2007 to the Kestrels of Strike Fighter Squadron 137 where again he deployed for Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom onboard the USS Abraham Lincoln CVN-72.

After a very rewarding tour he reported to Commander Strike Fighter Wing, US Pacific Fleet in August of 2010. He considers this the pinnacle of his career as a Gunner as he was responsible for the training of 20 fleet squadrons personnel, which makes up the five Carrier Air Wings assigned to the US Pacific Fleet. His duties included, manning of squadron personnel, training of personnel and equipping fleet squadrons for all deployment requirements.