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Command Biography
MAG-26 Commanding Officer
Colonel James C. Derrick

Colonel Derrick enlisted into the United States Marine Corps Reserve and graduated from Recruit Training at Parris Island, South Carolina in August 1995. Following  Recruit Training, Private First Class Derrick transferred to Battery M, 4th Battalion,  14th Marines where he served while attending the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Following graduation in May 1999, Lance Corporal Derrick was commissioned a Second Lieutenant through the Platoon Leaders Class program and reported to Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia for The Basic School (TBS). After graduating TBS, Second Lieutenant Derrick completed Infantry Officers Course, before reporting to Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida for flight training. He was designated a Naval Aviator in August 2001 and subsequently, reported to Marine Medium Helicopter Training Squadron 164, aboard Camp Pendleton, California for replacement aircrew training in the CH-46E.

In August 2002, First Lieutenant Derrick reported to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 266 at Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina where he served as Assistant Administration Officer, Ground Safety Officer, and Logistics Officer. 

During this period, he completed two deployments – the first, with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (22nd MEU), in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and the second in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF) in Al Asad, Iraq.

In July 2006 Captain Derrick transferred to 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines (2/6) aboard Camp Lejeune, North Carolina where he served as a Forward Air Controller and Air Officer. While with 2/6, he deployed to Fallujah, Iraq in support of OIF. Captain Derrick returned to New River in January 2008 with orders to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron 204 (VMMT-204) for transition training on the MV-22B Osprey. Subsequently, Captain Derrick checked into Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 (VMM-263) where he deployed with the 22nd MEU. While at VMM-263, he was promoted to Major and served as the Future Operations Officer and Logistics Officer.

Post deployment, Major Derrick returned to VMMT-204 for duty as an MV-22B Instructor Pilot. From October 2010 to May 2012, he served as the Quality Assurance Officer, Assistant Aircraft Maintenance Officer, and Operations Officer. In June 2012, Major Derrick reported to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162 to serve as the Aircraft Maintenance Officer. In February 2013 he moved to the Executive Officer billet and served as Detachment Officer-In-Charge for the Remain Behind Echelon while half of the squadron was deployed to Spain in support of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Crisis Response (SPMAGTF- CR).

In January 2014, Major Derrick reported to the Aviation Department, Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC) in the Pentagon, where he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and served as the International Plans and Policies Action Officer. Lieutenant Colonel Derrick planned future basing solutions, coordinated senior leader engagements, and advised leaders on MV-22 policy. Following his staff tour at HQMC, Lieutenant Colonel Derrick received orders back to Marine Aircraft Group 26 (MAG 26) in North Carolina to serve again with VMM-263 – this time as Commanding Officer from May of 2017 to June of 2019. During this period, he deployed the squadron to Spain and Italy as the Aviation Combat Element for the SPMAGTF-CR-Africa.

In the summer of 2019, Lieutenant Colonel Derrick executed orders to the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, RI where he earned a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies.  The following summer, he returned to the Pentagon– this time serving as a Program Coordinator in HQMC Programs and Resources Department.  A year later, he moved into a Joint Duty Assignment within the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation where he was promoted to Colonel and served as an Operations Research Analyst in the Land Forces Division.  

Colonel Derrick’s personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with gold star, the Air Medal with Strike Flight Numeral “8”, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with gold star, and Combat Action Ribbon.

2nd Marine Aircraft Wing