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Spotlight on Women: Captain Jessica O’Brien
Last month, Captain Jessica O’Brien became the first female commanding officer of Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, the first woman to lead the station in its 78-year history. Captain O’Brien has a history of rising to the top throughout her naval career.
Captain O’Brien is originally from Ocean Springs, Mississippi. In 1997, she graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a bachelor’s degree in Oceanography and later graduated from the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College with a master’s degree in Military Studies.
Since joining the Navy 25 years ago, Captain O’Brien has served both afloat and ashore in a variety of officer and command positions. This includes as a Satellite Communications and Technical Control Division Officer at the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Stations, Diego Garcia; Assistant Operations Officer, Electronic Warfare Officer, and Training Officer on the USS ANCHORAGE; Operations Officer on the USS MCCLUSKY; Commanding Officer of Beachmaster Unit ONE, Coronado, California (where she was distinguished as the first female commander of); Chief Staff Officer of Amphibious Squadron THREE; Flag Aide to Commander, Navy Region Southwest; Flag Secretary and Speech Writer to Commander, Naval Surface Forces/Naval Surface Force, Pacific Fleet; as the N5 and Maritime Prepositioning Force Officer at Naval Beach Group ONE, Coronado, CA; as the Deputy Branch Head, Security Cooperation and Posture, OPBAV N5; and International Seapower Symposium Coordinator for the Chief of Naval Operations. During the time, Captain O’Brien was recognized by being awarded the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Naval Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement medal, and more.
Now, as commanding officer of Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, Captain O’Brien will oversee the 5,256-acre weapons and munitions loading, storage, and maintenance facility located in Seal Beach, California. Additionally, a $154 million construction project is currently underway to replace the World War II era pier with one that will be able to accommodate amphibious assault ships or guided-missile destroyers loading and unloading ammunition between missions.
Captain O’Brien has helped to lay the groundwork for fellow female officers to pave their way through a still male-dominated profession and lead one of the Navy’s shore-based infrastructure support bases in the Pacific.