VMX-1 Chief Operational Test Director
Major Kyle K. McLeod

Major Kyle K. McLeod graduated magna cum laude from Kettering University in 2010 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. From 2008 through 2011, he served as a Department of Defense civilian with the Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center in Warren, Michigan specializing in ground systems survivability and blast mitigation.

In September 2010, Second Lieutenant McLeod commissioned through Platoon Leader's Class Juniors (2007) and Seniors (2009).  He attended The Basic School 4-11 before completing initial flight training at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, NAS Corpus Christi, and NAS Kingsville. First Lieutenant McLeod was designated a Naval Aviator in February 2014. He completed the F/A-18 syllabus at VFA-106 aboard NAS Oceana, Virginia and earned the Marine Corps Aviation Association Frank E. Peterson Award for Marine Flight Student of the Year in 2015.

In the fall of 2015, Captain McLeod reported to VMFA(AW)-533 aboard Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Beaufort, South Carolina. He deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve and the Unit Deployment Program. During this tour Captain McLeod served as the S-6 Officer, Mission Planning Officer, and Airframes Division Officer.

Captain McLeod reported to VMFAT-101 aboard MCAS Miramar, California in June 2018. He served as a Fleet Replacement Squadron Instructor Pilot, Schedules Officer, and Aviation Safety Officer. He was also a Standardization Instructor in four flight phases, dual-qualified in the T-34C, and the squadron’s Departure Training Program Manager. While at VMFAT-101, Major McLeod graduated from the Expeditionary Warfare School Distance Education Program with distinction and was an Honor Graduate of the Aviation Safety Officer Course.  

In June 2020, Captain McLeod attended Air Force Test Pilot School (AFTPS) where he earned a M.S. in Flight Test Engineering and the Aaron “C-Dot” Warrior Award. While attending AFTPS, Major McLeod completed the first space-domain test management project in the school’s history, using an airborne spacecraft surrogate connected to the United States Space Force Satellite Control Network. 

From 2021 through 2023, Major McLeod served as an F-35 Experimental Test Pilot, Project Officer, and Instructor Pilot within the Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base, California. He performed elevated-risk developmental testing on all three variants of the F-35. He was the Project Officer for PGU-47 APEX ammunition certification, 30 series software, FOX Three-Five, and the Next Generation Distributed Aperture System. During this tour Major McLeod graduated from the National Security Space Institute Space 200 course.

Major McLeod currently serves as the Chief Operational Test Director and Chief Test Pilot at VMX-1 in Yuma, Arizona. He is responsible for the operational test and evaluation of all Marine Corps aviation platforms. Major McLeod has flown over 30 different types of fixed, rotary, and remotely-piloted aircraft.

Major McLeod’s personal awards include Air Medals-Strike/Flight (Fourth award), the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (Second award).

Marine Aviation