Captain Jay A. “Homer” Gagne is currently the Chief of Staff and Senior Policy Advisor for the U.S. Navy Reserve to the Reserve Forces Policy Board (RFPB), Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington, D.C. He hails from Cliff Island, Maine and entered the Navy in 1992 through the NROTC program at Maine Maritime Academy where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marine Engineering Technology and a Coast Guard Third Assistant Engineer’s license.
After sailing as an Assistant Engineer for one year, Captain Gagne entered active duty and began primary flight training in VT-2 at NAS Whiting Field in Pensacola, Florida. He was “winged” a Naval Aviator on 2 December 1994 and transferred to the HS-10 Fleet Replacement Squadron in San Diego, CA for training in the SH-60F/H.
In December 1995, he transferred to Atsugi, Japan and became one of the “Chargers” of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron FOURTEEN (HS-14). Captain Gagne deployed onboard the aircraft carriers USS Independence (CV 62) and Kitty Hawk (CV 63) and served as HS-14’s NAVOSH Officer, SAR Officer, Assistant Admin/Personnel Officer, and Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR)/Assistant Tactics Officer.
While at the WTU, Captain Gagne was selected into the reserves as a Full Time Support officer in the Helicopter Combat Support Special (HCS) community. He joined Helicopter Combat Support Special Squadron FIVE (HCS-5) in San Diego, CA in July of 2002. While at HCS-5, he served as the Assistant Operations Officer, SWTI and Operations Department Head. He deployed twice to Kuwait and Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom where he flew as Mission Commander in support of special operations missions for the Combined Joint Special Operations Aviation Detachment (CJSOAD) and Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Arabian Peninsula (CJSOTF-AP).
Captain Gagne’s next assignment was with Commander Helicopter Wing Reserve (CHWR) from July 2004 to December 2006, where he served as the HCS Community Program Manager. While on staff duty, he deployed twice to Iraq in support of HCS-4 and HCS-5 during a critical manpower shortage and served as Mission Commander and Detachment Officer in Charge (OIC).
Captain Gagne was selected as squadron Officer in Charge of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Eight Four (HSC-84, formerly HCS-4) and transferred to Norfolk, Virginia in January 2007. While OIC of HSC-84, he again deployed twice to Iraq in support of OIF, and screened for Command of the HSC-85 “High Rollers”. He transferred back to San Diego to in February, 2009.
As Commanding Officer of HSC-85, Captain Gagne led his squadron through a period of significant personnel growth and a challenging mission and aircraft transition to provide critical rotary wing support to special operations forces (SOF) and fullfil national strategic objectives. The “High Rollers” successfully changed missions from logistics support to dedicated SOF support and officially became the “FIREHAWKS” on 8 July 2011.
After completion of his command tour in September 2011, Captain Gagne transferred to the CNO’s Air Warfare Directorate (OPNAV 98) in Washington D.C. as the HH-60H and Irregular Warfare Requirements Officer. After selecting for Captain, he attended the National Defense University’s Eisenhower School (formerly Industrial College of the Armed Forces) and graduated in June 2014 with a Master’s Degree in National Resource Strategy.
Captain Gagne and his wife Darcy have two children and currently reside in McLean, Virginia.
Personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal (3), the Single Action Air Medal with “Combat V” (2), the Strike Flight Air Medal (11), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (5), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, OIF Campaign Medal (4), and numerous other service and unit medals and ribbons. He has flown nearly 3300 hours (over 3000 in the H-60) with nearly 500 combat flight hours and 170 missions in support of SOF and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
(Current as of May 2016)