CDR Eric Tidwell
Commander Eric 'T-Bone' Tidwell, a native of Jacksonville, FL enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1989 and attended Boot Camp in San Diego, CA. After initial training he was selected to attend the Broadened Opportunity for Officer Selection and Training (BOOST) program and upon graduation was awarded a Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) scholarship to Jacksonville University. Graduating in 1995 with a degree in Applied Physics, Commander Tidwell began flight school and was winged a Naval Flight Officer in 1997.
First reporting to the GRIM REAPERS of VF-101 for initial training in the F-14, Commander Tidwell subsequently reported to the BLACK ACES of VF-41, at NAS Oceana, VA for his first operational fleet tour. Commander Tidwell made two deployments with VF-41; first onboard USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN-71) in 1999 participating in Operations NOBLE ANVIL/ALLIED FORCE and SOUTHERN WATCH, and then onboard USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65) in 2001 supporting Operation SOUTHERN WATCH and the initial phases of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. During his tour with the BLACK ACES Commander Tidwell served as a Branch Officer, the Aircraft Division Officer and Schedules Officer and was qualified as a Forward Air Controller (Airborne) and a Rescue Mission Commander.
After transitioning to the F/A-18F, Commander Tidwell reported to the VAMPIRES of VX-9, at NAWC China Lake, CA where he served as the Operational Test Director for the Integrated Defensive Electronic Counter Measures suite and the Shared Reconnaissance Pod (SHARP) system. In 2004, Commander Tidwell attended TOPGUN and was assigned to the BLACK KNIGHTS of VFA-154, at NAS Lemoore, CA as the Training Officer and in 2005 deployed onboard USS CARL VINSON (CVN-70) supporting Operations IRAQI FREEDOM and ENDURING FREEDOM. Commander Tidwell then reported to the FIGHTING REDCOCKS of VFA-22 as a Department Head; serving as the Admin Officer, Quality Assurance Officer, Operations Officer, and Maintenance Officer. While assigned to VFA-22, Commander Tidwell completed deployments in 2007 and 2008 onboard USS RONALD REAGAN (CVN-76) supporting Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
Following his tour at VFA-22, Commander Tidwell was assigned to U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill AFB, FL where he served as Executive Officer to the Director, InterAgency Task Force and then served as Chief, Special Programs Branch of the Information Operations Division, in the Operations Directorate. Commander Tidwell then attended the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, VA where he graduated from the Joint and Combined Warfighting School in March 2012. He then reported to the GLADIATORS of VFA-106 for refresher training in the F/A-18F and was assigned as the Executive Officer for the BLACK ACES of VFA-41 at NAS Lemoore, CA.
CDR Tidwell has accumulated over 2,700 flight hours and more than 750 carrier arrested landings in the F-14A and F/A-18F. His personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, eight Air Medals, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, two Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medals, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and various campaign and unit awards.
Commander Tidwell is married to the former Traci Ann Pelfrey, of Jacksonville, FL and together they have two children, Lauren and Joshua.