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First Name: James

Last Name: Winnefeld

Birthplace: Coronado, CA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Alexander

Date of Birth: 24 April 1956

Rank or Rate: Admiral

Years Served: 1978 - present
James Alexander Winnefeld, Jr.

•  Gulf War (1990 - 1991)
•  Afghanistan War (Operation Enduring Freedom) (2001 - present)
•  Iraq War (Operation Iraqi Freedom) (2003 - 2011)


James Alexander "Sandy" Winnefeld, Jr.

Admiral, U.S. Navy

James Alexander "Sandy" Winnefeld, Jr. was born on 24 April 1956 in Coronado, CA.

Winnefeld graduated from Georgia Tech in 1978 with high honors in Aerospace Engineering and received his commission via the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps program. After designation as a Naval Aviator, he served with two fighter squadrons and as an instructor at the Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN). Winnefeld went on to graduate with the highest distinction from the U.S. Naval War College off-campus program. He is a recipient of the Admiral William J. Crowe Award as Joint Staff Action Officer of the Year and the Vice Admiral William W. Behrens, Jr. award as the honor graduate of his Navy nuclear power school class.

His shore tours include service as an Action Officer in the Joint Staff Operations Directorate, as Senior Aide to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and as Executive Assistant to the Vice Chief of Naval Operations. As a flag officer he served ashore as Director, Warfare Programs and Transformational Concepts, U.S. Fleet Forces Command and as Director, Joint Innovation and Experimentation at U.S. Joint Forces Command.

His command tours include Fighter Squadron 211 (VF-211), USS Cleveland (LPD-7) and as the 17th Commanding Officer of the USS Enterprise (CVN-65). He led Enterprise through her 18th deployment, which included combat operations in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom immediately after the terrorist acts of 11 September 2001. As Commander, Carrier Strike Group 2/Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group, he led Task Forces 50, 152 and 58 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and maritime interception operations in the Persian Gulf. He served concurrently as Commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet; Commander, Allied Joint Command Lisbon; Commander, Striking and Support Forces NATO; Deputy Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe; and Joint Forces Maritime Component Commander, Europe.

Winnefeld was promoted to the four-star rank of Admiral on 19 May 2010 while serving as Commander, U.S. Northern Command (CDRUSNORTHCOM) and Commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command (CDRNORAD) from 2009-2011. In 2011, he became Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff (VCJCS), where he presently serves.

September 11 Attacks

Winnefeld was the Commanding Officer of the Enterprise during the time period of the 11 September attacks. Enterprise was returning home to port after a six-month deployment near the Persian Gulf. The crew was watching television at sea on 9/11/01 and observed the hijacked United Airlines Flight 175 airliner strike the south tower of the World Trade Center.

Acting without authorization from the National Command Authority, then-Captain Winnefeld, gave the order to put the ship's rudder over (180° degree turn) to return to the Persian Gulf. The carrier's aircraft were within range of Afghanistan by the next morning. For over three weeks, aircraft from Enterprise flew nearly 700 missions and dropped large amounts of ordnance over Afghanistan. The Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Vern Clark praised Winnefeld and credited him for taking initiative as well as for Enterprise's crew readiness.

Medals and Awards

Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit (2 Awards)
Bronze Star Medal


Naval Aviator Insignia
Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge


He is a recipient of the William J. Crowe and William W. Behrens, Jr. Awards.

Honoree ID: 685   Created by: MHOH




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