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Command Biographies
VMFAT-501 Commanding Officer
Lieutenant Colonel Christopher E. Brandt

Lieutenant Colonel Brandt is originally from Ridgely, Maryland.  He enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in May 2001 completing Basic Training at MCRD Parris Island, SC.  He served in 4th Landing Support Battalion in Wilmington, NC until graduating from Wake Forest University in May 2004, earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business.  In September 2004 he was commissioned as a 2ndLt, attended the Basic School in Quantico, VA and flight school in Pensacola, FL and Meridian, MS.  1stLt Brandt was designated as a Naval Aviator in August 2007.  

After completing AV-8B transition training in VMAT-203 at MCAS Cherry Point in 2009, he joined the “Great American Bulldogs” of VMA-223.  During his first tour, Captain Brandt served as Administrative Officer, Flight Officer and Pilot Training Officer.  In September 2011, Capt Brandt was selected to attend the Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course.  Upon completion he deployed with VMA-223 to Kandahar, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.   

In October 2012, Captain Brandt reported to Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 9 (VX-9) in China Lake, CA.  While there he served as the AV-8B Branch Head and Operational Test Director, participating in multiple AV-8B and F/A-18E/F test programs and fleet software introductions.  

In May 2015, Major Brandt was selected to transition to the F-35B and reported to VMFAT-501 in Beaufort, SC.  Upon completion of the transition course, he reported to the “Wake Island Avengers” of VMFA-211.  During this tour, Major Brandt served as Administrative Officer, Logistics Officer, Airframes Division Officer in Charge, Quality Assurance Officer, Operations Officer, Aircraft Maintenance Officer and Executive Officer.  In July 2018, he deployed with the 13th MEU onboard the USS Essex.  This deployment became the first combat employment of the F-35B, supporting Operation Enduring Freedom- Horn of Africa, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and Operation Inherent Resolve.  In September 2020, Maj Brandt again deployed with VMFA-211 to the United Kingdom, serving as the Training Landing Signals Officer for the CSG-21 work-up exercise, Group Sail, onboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth.  

Lieutenant Colonel Brandt reported to Marine Aircraft Group 31 in January 2021.

His personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal 5th award, and the Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal 2nd award.

Marine Aircraft Group 31