Colonel Michael R. Orr was born in Jacksonville, Florida. He was commissioned via the Platoon Leaders Course in 1988 following graduation from McGill University where he earned a BA in Economics. Upon completion of the Basic School, he was assigned to Naval Flight Officer training at NAS Pensacola, Florida. After completing training, he was designated a Naval Flight Officer in June 1990. 1stLt Orr was assigned to VA-128 at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington for training in the A-6 Intruder.
1stLt Orr reported to MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina in 1991 for duty with VMA-224, where he served as adjutant and deployed to the Western Pacific in 1991. While in the Western Pacific, he was selected for transition training and reported to NAS Whiting Field, Florida in 1992 for duty as a Student Naval Aviator. After completing Intermediate and Advanced Flight training at NAS Kingsville, Texas, Capt Orr was designated a Naval Aviator on 24 June 1994. Capt Orr completed his F/A-18 training at VFA-125 in NAS Lemoore, California in June 1995.
Capt Orr reported to MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina for duty with VMFA(AW)-224 and served as NATOPS officer and Quality Assurance Officer. While with VMFA(AW)-224, Capt Orr completed two deployments to Aviano, Italy for contingency operations over Bosnia-Herzegovina in support of Operations DENY FLIGHT, PROVIDE COMFORT, and DECISIVE EDGE. In June 1997, Major Orr transferred to VMFA-122 and served as Director, Safety and Standardization and Operations Officer, making one WESTPAC deployment.
In June 1999, Major Orr reported to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan for duty with VMFA-212. While with the Lancers, Major Orr served as Operations Officer, participating in several Pacific area exercises including COPE TIGER, COPE NORTH, and SOUTHERN FRONTIER. In Sept 2000, Major Orr reported to MAG-12 for duty as Current Operations Officer. In May 2001, Major Orr returned to VMFA-212 and served as Operations Officer. While with the Lancers, Major Orr deployed to Al Jaber, Kuwait and flew combat sorties in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of Operations SOUTHERN WATCH and ENDURING FREEDOM.
In July 2002, Major Orr reported to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina for duty with the II Marine Expeditionary Force as Aviation Plans Officer for the G-3. In January 2003, Major Orr made a combat deployment to Iraq with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade as part of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. Following his return to the U.S. in 2003, Major Orr served as Pacific Area Plans Officer for II MEF. In August 2005, LtCol Orr reported to MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina for duty as Executive Officer of VMFA-251. In July 2006, LtCol Orr assumed command of the Thunderbolts.
During his tour as Commanding Officer, LtCol Orr completed two combat deployments with Carrier Air Wing ONE aboard the USS Enterprise and a forward deployment to Al Asad Air Base, Iraq. The Thunderbolts flew in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of Operations IRAQI FREEDOM and ENDURING FREEDOM, earning the Chief of Naval Operations Aviation Safety Award in 2006 and 2007.
In August 2008, Col Orr attended the National War College at Fort McNair Washington, graduating in June 2009. Following the war college, Col Orr served as the Commander, Joint Warfare Analysis Center in Dahlgren, VA from July 2009 until December 2011. While at JWAC, Colonel Orr led over 600 scientists, engineers, and military professionals providing scientific and engineering based solutions to national security challenges.
Col Orr has over 3500 flight hours with 2700 hours in the F/A-18. Col Orr’s personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, two Meritorious Service Medals, Air Medal with the numeral five, three Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medals and the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal.