Carrier Strike Group Eleven

Commander, CSG 11

Chief of Staff

Commander, CSG 11: Rear Admiral Donald D. Gabrielson

Rear Adm. Don Gabrielson is a northern Minnesota native and a 1989 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. He holds master’s degrees from the Naval Postgraduate School and the National War College.

Gabrielson serves as the Commander of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 11, which includes USS Nimitz (CVN 68), Carrier Airwing (CVW) 11, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9 with five destroyers, and two Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruisers. Gabrielson previously served as the Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific/Task Force 73/Singapore Area Coordinator, leading more than 20 bilateral and multilateral security cooperation exercises with 14 nations in South and Southeast Asia, commanding more than 50 ships and operational naval logistics forces in the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans, forward deployed Littoral Combat Ships, and a Navy region ashore.

A surface warfare officer, Gabrielson’s sea tours included frigates, littoral combat ships, destroyers and cruisers, deploying five times to the Middle East, along with operations across the Western Pacific, Atlantic, Mediterranean, Arctic and Baltic regions. He commanded USS Cape St. George (CG 71), circumnavigating the globe while deployed with USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). He also served as commanding officer through design construction and commissioning of USS Freedom (LCS 1), sailing all the Great Lakes and Atlantic.

Ashore, Gabrielson served as executive assistant to the commander, U.S. Pacific Command, as aide to the vice chief of naval operations and as an operations research analyst in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV) N81 division. He also served as liaison to the U.S. Congress in both the secretary of the Navy's Office of Legislative Affairs and the Joint Staff.

He was a 2010 fellow in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Seminar XXI program and a Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Fellow in the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group XXXIII.

Gabrielson's awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (four awards), the Joint Service Commendation Medal (two awards), Navy Commendation and Achievement medals and numerous unit and service citations.

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Chief of Staff: Captain Rich Weitzel

Captain Weitzel graduated from the University of Michigan in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering. He holds master’s degrees from the National War College and University of San Diego. He earned his wings of gold in 1997.

Captain Weitzel’s operational tours include assignment to Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 45 (HSL-45), deploying in USS Valley Forge (CG-50) and USS Oldendorf (DD-972). He served in USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) as Aircraft Handler and Mini Boss, deploying with Expeditionary Strike Group Five in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations following the devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia. Captain Weitzel also served in HSL-45 as a department head and deployed as detachment Officer in Charge in USS Bunker Hill (CG-52) and in USS McCluskey (FFG-41) in support of JIATF-South counter narco-terrorism operations.

As a plank owner in Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 78 (HSM-78), Captain Weitzel served as Executive Officer and Commanding Officer, leading the Blue Hawks as part of Carrier Air Wing TWO in the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) Strike Group.

Ashore, Captain Weitzel served as a Fleet Replacement Squadron instructor pilot and CNAP Evaluator in Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 41 (HSL-41), as an Action Officer in the Operations Directorate (J-3) of the Joint Staff, and as a Division Chief and Command Center Director in NORAD-USNORTHCOM.

Captain Weitzel’s awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation medals, and various joint, unit and service awards.

Captain Weitzel resides in Mukliteo, WA with his wife, Julie, and their three girls, Grace (14), Charlotte (12) and Madeline (9).

CARRIER STRIKE GROUP 11 FACTS

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