Commander Mark Joines, a native of Crescent City, was recently awarded the Meritorious Service Medal while serving as the executive officer, NR Commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet Maritime Operations Center and Training and Exercise Directorate.

Presenting the award was Vice Admiral S.H. Swift, Commander U.S. Seventh Fleet. Also in attendance were Joines' wife Grace, and father Mac Joines, who currently resides in Crescent City.

In his civilian job, Joines is employed as a pilot for American Airlines and resides in Dallas, Texas, with his wife Grace.

From January 2009 to November 2012, Joines served as the naval amphibious liaison element battle watch captain, senior offensive duty officer and master air attack plans lead for exercises "Key Resolve," "Terminal Fury," and "Ulchi Freedom Guardian."

As a recognized expert in air command and control theory and doctrine, his leadership in both the Seventh Fleet and Thirteenth Air Force Air Operations Centers generated 1,000 combat sorties daily to support all Joint and Combined Task Force operations training objectives.

During this period he also performed as the Maritime Operations Center "Fires" watch officer on board the Seventh Fleet flag ship (USS Blue Ridge). He ensured all target sets were properly vetted, prioritized and sourced, according to the Maritime Component Commanders standing guidance.

As executive officer of the reserve component Training and Exercise Warfare Directorate, his organizational skills ensured the timely operational support to the commander of Seventh Fleet. Joines orchestrated the billet structure, training, orders, travel, and funding requirements for 300 sailors and provided more than 5,500 days of operational support to the gaining command.

After graduating from Del Norte High School in 1981, Joines enlisted in the Navy, where he served as an air crewman on the P-3C Orion until 1986. He left active duty to pursue a degree in meteorology through the Navy ROTC program, graduating in 1990, receiving a commission as an ensign in the Navy.

Upon completing flight training he was awarded his Navy Wings of Gold and designated a naval aviator on Nov. 6, 1992, at Naval Air Station, Corpus Christi, Texas. After completing his training in Jacksonville, Fla., he was stationed in Brunswick, Maine.

There he made two deployments to Sigonella, Sicily, and one to Puerto Rico and Panama. He flew missions in support of Operations "Sharp Guard," "Desert Calm" and "Frontier Shield" in the Adriatic, Caribbean and Red seas. He served as the squadron communications officer, readiness officer and maintenance quality assurance division officer.

In 1996, Commander Joines was assigned as an instructor pilot at Vance Air Force Base, in Enid, Okla., flying the T-1A Jayhawk. He served as schedules officer, Navy liaison officer and joint training officer. He qualified to fly instructional sorties in all phases of intermediate and advanced flight training.

In April 2000, Commander Joines was released from active duty and affiliated with the Naval Reserve in Fort Worth, Texas. He initially served as administrative officer and executive officer. Heassumed command of NR Naval Security Forces in October 2004.

In January 2007, he joined Naval Reserve Commander, Seventh Fleet.

Personal decorations include the Navy Commendation Medal (three), Joint Forces Achievement Medal, Navy Achievement Medal and various unit and individual awards. Commander Joines has accumulated more than 7,000 flight hours in military and civilian aircraft types.