Commander Mendez enlisted in the Navy under the Broaden Opportunity for Officer Selection and Training (BOOST) program in 1987. After successful completion of BOOST, he received his NROTC scholarship and attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Finance in 1991. After graduation, CDR Mendez attended flight school in Pensacola, FL and Corpus Christi, TX where he was winged in June 1994, and then reported to the P-3 “Orion” Fleet Replacement Squadron, VP-30 “Pros Nest” at NAS Jacksonville, FL.
Commander Mendez was next assigned to VP-11 “Proud Pegasus” at NAS Brunswick, ME, where he served as Tactical Publications Librarian and Command Security Manager. In 1996, he decommissioned VP-11 and was assigned to VP-8 “Fighting Tigers” at NAS Brunswick, ME, where he served as Information Technology Officer and Ordnance Officer. While in VP-8 CDR Mendez was designated as Patrol Plane Commander, Mission Commander, Functional Check Pilot, Instrument Check Pilot with special card, and in 1997, received his Instructor Pilot designation and served as VP-8’s Pilot NATOPS Officer. During 1995 - 1996, while serving in VP-11 and VP-8 he deployed to Sigonella, Italy twice providing Maritime Patrol and Tactical Reconnaissance Operations, C3I, and Search and Rescue in the Mediterranean Sea, Adriatic Sea, and executed Operation Deliberate force in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In 1998, VP-8 deployed to Roosevelt Roads Puerto Rico, Howard AFB Panama, and Keflavik, Iceland. During this deployment he participated in Operation Northern Watch, along with Counter-Drug Operation in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and Eastern Pacific. In March 1999, Commander Mendez received orders to the Fleet Replacement Squadron VP-30 “Pros Nest” at NAS Jacksonville, FL where he qualified newly winged aviators in the P-3C aircraft. He also served as Officer in Charge (OIC) of the P-3C Anti-Surface Warfare Improvement Program (AIP) Fleet Introduction Team.
In 2002, CDR Mendez separated from the active component and affiliated with the Navy Reserve and joined the VP-92 “Minutemen” at NAS Brunswick, ME. While with VP-92, he served as Pilot NATOPS Officer, AIP Lead Instructor, Operations Officer, and Executive Assistant. Throughout his tour with VP-92, he deployed to Compala Air Base, El Salvador in support of JIATF-West’s Operation Caper Focus and to Manta, Ecuador in support of JIATF-East’s Operation Carib Shield. In 2007, CDR Mendez reported to NAVCOMDOC Det 206 at the Washington Navy Yard, Washington DC, where he served as Fleet Historian, Executive Officer, and interim fill Chief of Staff for the active component’s Navy History and Heritage Command.
CDR Mendez mobilized in October 2010, to the Joint Coalition Iraqi Security Assistance Mission (ISAM) in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn. He served as the Ministry of Interior (MoI) Team Chief stationed in the red zone at Joint Security Station (JSS) Shield. CDR Mendez was responsible for providing expertise in Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and assisting the Iraqi MoI organize, train, equip and mentor Iraqi Joint Forces in order to facilitate the transition of security from the US Forces to Iraq.
Returning from mobilization in December 2011, CDR Mendez joined Navy casualty and was assigned as Director of POW/MIA Affairs. He was responsible for coordination and support to the Navy Casualty’s POW/MIA Branch in the recovery and possible accounting of those missing or lost during our nation’s past, present, and future conflicts. In December 2013, CDR Mendez reported to NR NAVINSGEN 106 where he served as Executive Officer until his retirement in October 2016.
Commander Mendez’s personal decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (2), Strike/Flight Air Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (2), Navy Achievement Medal (3), as well as various campaign and expeditionary medals and ribbons. He’s accumulated over 4,000 tactical flight hours in the P-3C/AIP “Orion” aircraft.
CDR Mendez is presently employed by Federal Express and is a Captain on the B-757, where he serves as a Line Check Airman (LCA) qualifying newly hired pilots as first officers or qualifying upgrading first officers to Captains on the B-757. He also serves as a Human Factors subject matter expert (SME) working on special projects to improve safety across all aircraft fleets. Due to his hard work and dedications to his students and the safety of the entire crew force, CDR Mendez was a 2019 recipient of the prestigious Purple Wings award.