An Amsterdam High School alum, Jason Mendez followed his brother David’s path and enlisted in the Navy after graduating in 1992. While enlisted, he earned an NROTC Scholarship via the Broadened Opportunity for Officer Selection and Training (BOOST) program and was accepted to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). Graduating RPI in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics, he then went on to earn his “Wings of Gold” as a Naval Flight Officer (NFO) and reported to serve in the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) community.
Serving in Patrol Squadron (VP) Forty-Five (45) he qualified as an Instructor Tactical Coordinator and Mission Commander while completing three deployments, including NATO combat flight operations in Kosovo supporting Operation Allied Force. After VP-45, he reported to VP-30, as a Fleet Replacement Squadron Instructor Tactical Coordinator, Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization (NATOPS) Evaluator, and Weapons Tactics Unit (WTU) instructor and project(s) officer.
Following his VP tours, Jason reported to the USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) qualifying as a Tactical Action Officer (TAO) and ultimately serving as the Combat Direction Center Officer (CDCO). During this tour, he also served as a TAO on Temporary Active Duty (TAD) aboard the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) conducting combat operations in the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
At completion of his sea tour, Jason attended the Naval War College and in 2008 earned his Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies, while also qualifying as a Naval Operational Planner after graduating from the selective Naval Operational Planner Course.
After the Naval War College, Jason returned to VP-30 as the Training Director and P-3 Training Officer, before embarking on several joint tours and earning his Joint Officer Qualifications.
In 2009, Jason reported to Joint Composite Crew Squadron (JCCS) One in Iraq and was assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Calvary Division as their Brigade Electronic Warfare Officer, supporting counter improvised explosive device (IED) operations in Kirkuk-Irbil province in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In 2011, Jason reported to NATO Air Training Command – Afghanistan (NATC-A) in Kabul as the J-7 Training Officer and embedded with the fledgling Afghanistan Air Force as an advisor to their senior leadership in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
After these tours, Jason reported to the United States Air Force Academy as an exchange officer and served as Squadron Commander and Deputy Group Commander until retiring in 2016. His personal awards include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (2), Strike/Flight Air Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (4), and various unit, campaign, and expeditionary medals and ribbons.
Following his retirement, Jason continues to support the Navy and Department of Defense as a Senior Program Manager for Aviation Systems Engineering Company (ASEC) Inc. Jason is currently ASEC’s Site Manager in Orlando, FL, serving as an Integrated Product Team Lead at the Naval Air Warfare Center – Training System’s Division.