Unit Staff



Capt. Brian Tanaka, a Minnesota native, commissioned in 1996 through the Naval ROTC program at Marquette University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry. 
Tanaka’s sea assignments include USS Memphis (SSN 691), USS Jefferson City (SSN 759), executive officer aboard USS West Virginia (SSBN 736), and commanding officer aboard USS Minnesota (SSN 783). During his sea tours, Tanaka completed deployments to the U.S. European Command and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command areas of responsibility, as well as two strategic deterrent patrols.
Tanaka’s shore assignments include serving as flag lieutenant to the deputy chief of naval operations, submarine warfare division; the assistant nuclear and submarine community manager for the office of the chief of naval personnel; deputy director and Navy liaison to the U.S. House of Representatives; and deputy commander, Task Force 69, U.S. 6th Fleet.
Tanaka holds a Master of Science in Engineering Management from the Catholic University of America, Master of Science in National Security Strategy from the National War College and is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Seminar XXI program in International Affairs and Foreign Policy. 
His personal decorations include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal and various unit and campaign awards.  He is most proud of the awards earned as a result of excellent teamwork, resilience and battle readiness.



Major Angel


Major Matthew Angel, United States Marine Corps, matthew.angel@duke.edu

Major Angel graduated from The Basic School (TBS) in Quantico, Virginia in January of 2012. Immediately following his graduation from TBS Major Angel attended Combat Engineer Officer Course (CEOC) in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and was the Academic Honor Graduate in June of 2012

Upon graduating from CEOC, Major Angel was assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion (CLB) 8 in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina where he served as the Executive Officer, Headquarters and Service Company from June 2012 to August 2013.  During this time he deployed with CLB 8 from January to July 2013 as a part of Combat Logistics Regiment (CLR) 2 to Helmand Province, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom where he additionally served as the Regimental Anti Terrorism Force Protection Officer.

In August 2013, Major Angel was transferred to 8th Engineer Support Battalion in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and assumed the billet of Heavy Equipment Platoon Commander.  In April 2014 he was made the Battalion's Assistant Operations Officer and Unit Readiness Officer.

In March 2015, Major Angel was assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF)  - Southern Command, as the SPMAGTF's Assistant Operations Officer.  In June 2015 he deployed to Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras in support of Joint Task Force Bravo. In August 2015 he was assigned as the Logistics Combat Element Officer in Charge.

In February 2016, Major Angel was assigned to 2D Marine Logistics Group to serve as the Assistant Future Operations Officer and Liaison Officer for SPMAGTF-Southern Command to II Marine Expeditionary Force.

In June 2016, Major Angel reported to Marine Corps Security Force Battalion in Kings Bay, Georgia, and assumed the billet of Platoon Commander in support of Nuclear Weapons Security.  In April 2017 he was made the Executive Officer, Company B.

In June of 2019, Major Angel reported to United States Army Engineer School in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri were he completed Engineer Captain's Career Course earning the Assistant Commandant's Award as well as distinguished graduate status.

In January of 2020, Major Angel reported to 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, Camp Pendleton California and assumed the billet of Headquarters and Service Company Commander. In July 2020 he was made the Mobility Assault Company Commander. In June 2021 he was made the Battalion Operations Officer.

In July of 2022, Major Angel reported to the North Carolina Piedmont Region Consortium, Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps and assumed the role of Executive Officer.

Major Angel has a Bachelors Degree in Kinesiology from Auburn University and a Masters Degree in Geological Engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology. His personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two gold stars in lieu of third award), and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.






Lieutenant Webb Pierson, Naval Aviator, webb.pierson@duke.edu

LT Webb Pierson is the Aviation Warfare officer at Duke NROTC. He is the freshmen and sophomore advisor. He instructs the 100 level of Naval Science.

LT Pierson earned his commission at the University of Missouri in 2016, where he received his degrees in Biology and Chemistry. He was selected Naval Aviator where he began his flight school training in Pensacola, FL. He received his wings in August 2018 in Corpus Christi, TX.

Prior to this assignment he served as an Aircraft Commander, Mission Commander, and Instructor Pilot at Fleet Reconnaissance four (VQ-4). During his time at VQ-4 he completed over 600 hours of Nuclear Deterrence.

He completed his M.S. in Genomics at John’s Hopkins University in 2022. He began his current assignment at Duke University in May 2022.


Lieutenant Steven Kiessling, Submarine Officer, steven.kiessling@duke.edu

LT Kiessling is the Operations officer as well as the Junior/Senior Advisor for the North Carolina Piedmont Consortium at Duke.  He is responsible for professional development, battalion operations, and instruction the 200 and 300 curriculum.


LT Kiessling enlisted in 2013 as a Nuclear Machinist Mate. Making the rank of Petty Officer Second Class, he was selected for the Seaman to Admiral 21 program.  Receiving his commission at North Carolina State University, LT Kiessling obtained a Bachelors in Science in Mechanical Engineering.  A Submarine officer, he was attached to the USS Tennessee (SSBN 734) where he served as the Chemistry and Radiological Controls Officer and the Tactical Systems Officer.  LT Kiessling is currently pursuing his MBA from the University of North Carolina.



officer emblem



Captain Derek McNamara enrolled at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland and joined the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps Unit (NROTCU) in August 2014. From May 2017 to July 2017, Candidate McNamara underwent training at Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia. On May 18, 2018, Second Lieutenant McNamara was commissioned after graduating from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice. He reported to The Basic School in June 2018 and graduated in December 2018. Second Lieutenant McNamara attended Infantry Officers Course from January to March 2019. Upon completion of Infantry Officers Course, Second Lieutenant McNamara reported to 3d Battalion, 1st Marines in Camp Pendleton, California. He led 1st Platoon, Company K from May 2019 to May 2020 and deployed to El Centro, California in support of the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force - Customs and Border Protection. In May 2020, he was promoted to First Lieutenant and assumed the role of Executive Officer for Company K. From September 2020 to April 2021, First Lieutenant McNamara deployed to Baghdad, Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. In May 2021, First Lieutenant McNamara took command of Headquarter and Services Company. He attended Weapons and Tactics Instructor School from August 2021 to October 2021 and assumed the billet of Executive Officer for Weapons Company. First Lieutenant McNamara reported to NROTCU, North Carolina Piedmont Region in June 2022 and currently serves as the Marine Officer Instructor. He was promoted to Captain in November 2022. Captain McNamara's personal awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal. He is married to Amanda McNamara and they have one son, Elijah.

Captain Derek McNamara, derek.mcnamara@duke.edu







Mr. Edward Thompson, edward.thompson@duke.edu


Mr. Daryl Thomas, dlthomas@duke.edu


Mr. Tommy Thompson, tommy.thompson@duke.edu