Commander Bruce Szymanski, the son of Ron and Wanda Szymanski of Fredonia and a 1983 graduate from Brocton Central School, will officially retire from active duty with the U.S. Navy on Nov 1 after 26 years of distinguished service. Because he has leave time available, his retirement ceremony has already taken place.
Szymanski was born and raised in upstate New York. He is a 1983 graduate of Brocton Central School. He graduated in 1987 from Union College in Schenectady,with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering. He was commissioned as an ensign in the United States Navy on June 13, 1987.
Commander Szymanski was designated a Naval Aviator in 1990 and reported to the "Garudas" for his first fleet tour in 1992. He served as Line Division Officer and Assistant Operations Officer while completing multiple Western Pacific Deployments onboard the USS Kitty Hawk while augmenting Combined Air Operations Center Five in Vicenza, Italy as a crisis operations planner supporting Operations DENY FLIGHT, PROVIDE PROMISE and DELIBERATE FORCE/ALLIED FORCE in former Yugoslavia in 1995.
His first shore tour was with the "Vikings" of VAQ-129 as an instructor pilot where he served as the EA-6B Community Standardization and Evaluation Pilot. In 1999, he graduated from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth, Kansas and earned a master's degree in business administration from Benedictine College.
CDR Szymanski reported to the "Fighting Phoenix" of VAQ-128 for his aviation department head tour and served as Administration, Operations and Aircraft Maintenance Officer while deploying numerous times to the United States European and Central Command theaters of operation in support of Operations NORTHERN and SOUTHERN WATCH while accumulating over 2000 EA-6B flight hours in the EA-6B Prowler.
From 2002 to 2005, he completed his first joint tour as the Joint Command and Control Systems Integration Branch Chief at United States Central Command supporting Operations IRAQI FREEDOM, ENDURING FREEDOM and Combined-Joint Task Force HORN OF AFRICA. He graduated from the Joint Forces Staff College, Norfolk, VA in September 2004 and was designated as a Joint Specialty Officer (JSO).
In January 2005, CDR Szymanski went back to sea aboard the USS Kitty Hawk homeported in Yokosuka, Japan where he served as the Air Operations Officer and Combat Direction Center Officer followed by orders to the NATO Allied Joint Force Command Naples where he served as the Operations Division Training Officer, Electronic Warfare Section Head and NATO liaison officer to Combined-Joint Task Force ODYSSEY DAWN.
Szymanski served asExecutive Officer, NROTC University of Washington beginning in May 2011.
His personal decorations and awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, numerous Strike Flight Air Medals, multiple Joint and Navy Commendation Medals and the Navy Achievement Medal.
Szymanski currently resides in the Seattle, Wash., area with his wife and two children.