Commanding Officer

Commanding Officer, North Carolina Piedmont Consortium

Captain Gillespie, a native of Jacksonville, Florida, graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science in 1987. He attended Catholic University receiving a Master of Engineering degree in Engineering Management in June 1999 and attended the Industrial College of the Armed Forces earning a Master of National Resource Strategy in June 2011.

His first assignment following nuclear propulsion training and submarine school was on USS LOUISVILLE (SSN-724) home ported in San Diego, California.  During this tour, he deployed two times to the Western Pacific, including support of Operation Desert Storm. The ship was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for its historic role in the first successful submerged launch of Tomahawk missiles during conflict.

Subsequent sea tours include Weapons Officer, USS SALT LAKE CITY (SSN-716), completing two Western Pacific Deployments, and Executive Officer, USS GEORGIA (SSBN- 729) (GOLD), completing five strategic deterrent patrols. Captain Gillespie took command of USS RHODE ISLAND (SSBN 740)(GOLD) in July 2005.  During his command tour the ship successfully completed four strategic deterrent patrols, obtained the Fleet Forces Command Retention Excellence Award for three consecutive years, and was awarded the 2005 and 2007  Battle Efficiency “E” for operational excellence. Following USS RHODE ISLAND, Captain Gillespie served as Deputy Commander Submarine Squadron 16/20; Commanding Officer USS WEST VIRGINIA (SSBN 736)(GOLD); and Commander, Submarine Squadron 16.

His staff tours include duty as Material Officer for Commander Submarine Development Group One; Action Officer in the Fleet Readiness and Logistics Division, Chief of Naval Operations Staff; and Strategy Officer in the Policy, Resources and Requirements Directorate of United States Strategic Command.

Captain Gillespie’s personal awards include the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, and various campaign and unit awards.