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Command Biography
VMFAT-501 Commanding Officer
Lieutenant Colonel Zachary M. Baskara

Lieutenant Colonel Baskara graduated from Texas A&M University in May 2007 with a degree in Political Science and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.

Following The Basic School, Lieutenant Colonel Baskara completed flight school and was designated as a Naval Aviator in July 2010. Following the subsequent completion of the F/A-18 replacement pilot syllabus with VFA-125, he was assigned to the “Death Rattlers” of VMFA-323 at MCAS Miramar, CA. Lieutenant Colonel Baskara deployed with VMFA-323 as part of Carrier Air Wing Eleven (CVW-11) aboard the USS Nimitz in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and other combat and contingency operations in the 5th and 7th Fleet AORs.

Upon return from the combat deployment in December 2013, Lieutenant Colonel Baskara served as the Aide-de-Camp for the Assistant Wing Commander, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

In December 2014, Lieutenant Colonel Baskara transitioned to the F-35B and was assigned to the VMFA-121 “Green Knights” at MCAS Yuma, Arizona. During this tour, Lieutenant Colonel Baskara graduated from Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course 1-17.  Lieutenant Colonel Baskara then executed the squadron relocation and forward-deployment of VMFA-121 from MCAS Yuma to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan in January 2017. There he would remain with the squadron for an additional two years and would deploy with the 31st MEU onboard the USS Wasp. Lieutenant Colonel Baskara was then assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 12 Headquarters from September 2018 to May 2019 where he served as the Future Plans Officer, F-35 Subject Matter Expert, and MAG-12 Operations Officer.

Lieutenant Colonel Baskara reported to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1) in June 2019 and served as an F-35 Instructor Pilot, F-35 Division Head, and TACAIR Department Head. Lieutenant Colonel Baskara concluded his second tour in Yuma, Arizona with a quick assignment to Marine Test and Evaluation Squadron One (VMX-1) prior to executing PCS orders to Marine Aircraft Group 31 in December 2022.

Lieutenant Colonel Baskara’s qualifications include F-35 Division Lead, Mission Commander, and Weapons and Tactics Instructor.  His personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal with gold star, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with gold star.

2nd Marine Aircraft Wing