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Ryan J. Courtade

MPJ, Chief Petty Officer, USN

Chief Mass Communication Specialist Ryan J. Courtade is a native of Traverse City, MI, and graduated from Traverse City West High School in 1999. In July 1999 Courtade enlisted as a U.S. Navy Photographer’s Mate (PH) and reported for basic training aboard Navy Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Ill. After completing basic training he attended the Navy’s PH “A” school, Basic Still Photography, at the Defense Information School, Fort George G. Meade, MD.

Courtade’s first assignment was at Special Project Patrol Squadron One (VPU-1), in Brunswick, ME, where he served as an Aircrew Aerial Photographer, and earned his Naval Aircrew and Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist Wings. While in the VPU-1 he deployed and flew mission in support of multiple operations and task forces to include the Kosovo Campaign, Operation South Watch, Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom in the Philippines and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In 2003, Courtade was selected to become a member of the Naval Flight Demonstration Squadron “Blue Angels,” where he served as the leading petty officer of the public affairs shop and aerial photographer. While with the Blue Angels, he deployed to over 120 different Air shows in over 30 states.

In 2007, Courtade was assigned as an instructor to the Defense Information School (DINFOS). While at DINFOS, Courtade served two years as an instructor with the Basic Mass Communications Course and also served as chief for the Digital Multimedia Course.

In July 2011, Courtade was selected for the Syracuse University Military Photojouralism Program in July 2011.

His decorations include two Air Medals (strike/flight), a Joint Service Commendation Medal, two Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medals w/ combat “V’s”, three Joint Service Achievement Medals, two Naval Achievement Medals, four Good Conduct Medals and a Military Outstanding Volunteer Medal among other personal and unit awards.

Following grduation, Courtade will report to Expeditionary Combat Camera in Norfolk, Va.