CAPT James C. (Chris) Rentfrow, USN
A native of Atwater, CA, CAPT Rentfrow graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1989, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science. He earned his Naval Flight Officer wings in September 1990 and in January 1991 reported to the VAQ-129 “Vikings” for initial fleet training as an EA-6B Electronic Countermeasures Officer.
CAPT Rentfrow began his operational flying in February 1992 with the “Yellow Jackets” of VAQ-138. During this tour he deployed aboard the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) to the Western Pacific/Indian Ocean and the Arabian Gulf, participating in Operation SOUTHERN WATCH. After completing his initial tour, CAPT Rentfrow reported to the EA-6B reserve squadron, VAQ-209, as one of the Regular Navy officers charged with overseeing the training and combat-ready status of the reserve aircrew.
During his tour with the “Star Warriors”, CAPT Rentfrow served as the Safety Officer and Administrative Officer. In May 1995, the squadron was activated and deployed to the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) to augment the Regular Navy squadrons supporting Operation DENY FLIGHT over Bosnia-Herzegovina. During this deployment, CAPT Rentfrow logged over 20 combat missions, including taking part in the Operation DELIBERATE FORCE air strikes that forced the Bosnian Serbs to the peace table.
In October 1997, CAPT Rentfrow reported to the staff of Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Group FIVE, where he served as the group Electronic Warfare Officer and Information Systems Officer.
In June 2000, CAPT Rentfrow returned to the “Vikings” of VAQ-129 for refresher training in the EA-6B before joining the “Rooks” of VAQ-137 in October, where he served as the Safety Officer, Tactics Officer, and Operations Officer. In September 2001, the squadron deployed to the North Arabian Sea aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) in response to the 9/11 attacks. CAPT Rentfrow subsequently logged 40 combat missions over Afghanistan while flying in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
Upon the “Rooks” return from deployment, CAPT Rentfrow detached from the squadron and reported to the U.S. Naval Academy in the summer of 2002. He was assigned to the Political Science Department, where he instructed in American Government, Political Philosophy, and Naval History. In April of 2005, CAPT Rentfrow joined the crew of the USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74). Assigned as the Combat Direction Center Officer (CDCO), he was responsible for all ship’s surveillance and self-defense weapons systems. In 2007 he deployed with STENNIS to the North Arabian Sea and Arabian Gulf in support of Operations IRAQI FREEDOM and ENDURING FREEDOM.
Upon return from deployment in the summer of 2007, CAPT Rentfrow reported to the faculty of the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, where he taught in the Department of National Security Decision Making during the academic year 2007-2008. In 2008, he was selected to enter the Permanent Military Professor program. He is currently the Deputy Director of the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences at the U.S. Naval Academy.
CAPT Rentfrow is an in-residence graduate of the Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama. He holds a M.S. in Human Resource Management from Troy State University, Montgomery, and a Ph.D. in U.S. History from the University of Maryland, College Park.
CAPT Rentfrow has accumulated over 2100 EA-6B flight hours and over 400 carrier arrested landings. His awards include the Strike/Flight Air Medal (6 awards), the Meritorious Service Medal (2 awards), the Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat “V”, and various service awards and ribbons.