Vice Adm. Steve Koehler is a native of San Diego and a 1986 graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder with a Bachelor of Science in Physics, where he was commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC). He was designated a naval aviator in March 1989. He holds a Master’s in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College and is a graduate of the Joint Staff College and the Navy Nuclear Power Program.
At sea, he has served with Fighter Squadron (VF) 211, VF-41, was the executive officer aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), and commanded Fighter Squadron (VFA) 143, USS Bataan (LHD 5), USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), and Carrier Strike Group Nine. During these operational tours he supported Operations Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom, Inherent Resolve and Freedom’s Sentinel in support of contingency operations in the Middle East, Operation Deliberate Guard in support of stabilization efforts in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Operation Unified Protector in support of contingency operations Libya, Operation Unified Response providing emergency disaster relief to Haiti, and peer competition operations in the East and South China Seas.
Ashore, Koehler has served multiple tours as an instructor pilot with VF-101, placement officer at the Bureau of Naval Personnel, and chief of staff to Commander, Joint Task Force Horn of Africa in Djibouti. As a flag officer, he served ashore as the Director of Fleet Training at U.S. Fleet Forces Command, the Director for Operations (J3), U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and Deputy Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Koehler has logged over 3,900 hours in the F-14 Tomcat and the F-18 E/F Super Hornet, 600 arrested landings, and 75 combat missions. His personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Strike/Flight Air Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
Koehler assumed duties as Commander, U.S. Third Fleet in June 2021.