Rear Admiral Michael R. Groothousen (U.S. Navy, Ret.) is from Houston, Texas. A 1975 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, with a degree in Ocean Engineering, he was designated a Naval Aviator in August of 1976. Following Fleet Replacement Pilot training in VA-174, in the A-7E Corsair, he made cruises onboard USS America (CV 66) and USS Independence (CV 62) with VA-15 before reporting to Commander Training Air Wing Three as TRAWING LSO.
In January 1982, Rear Adm. Groothousen reported to Commander, Carrier Air Wing EIGHT embarked on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) as Wing LSO. Upon transition to flying the F/A-18 Hornet he reported to VFA-106 as one of the initial cadre of Hornet Instructor Pilots on the east coast. With VFA-132, Rear Adm. Groothousen deployed to Iwakuni, Japan. During his tour, the squadron was awarded the “Estocin Award” and became the first Hornet squadron to capture the prestigious “Fox One” Award.
After graduating from the Armed Forces Staff College he served as Deputy Chief of Missile Warning within NORAD and U.S. Space Command. He reported as Executive Officer of VFA-137 during Operation Provide Comfort onboard USS Forrestal (CV 59). On September 18, 1992, he assumed command of VFA-137 and carried out the “Kestrels” homeport reassignment from NAS Cecil Field, Fla., to NAS Lemoore, Calif. Following Naval Nuclear Power Training, he served as Executive Officer of USS George Washington (CVN 73) from May 1996 to September 1997. During his tour, “GW” won the coveted Battle “E” Award, each departmental “E” and earned the Golden Anchor Award. In December 1997, he assumed command of USS Shreveport (LPD 12) in Constanta, Romania. While he was in command, Shreveport deployed to the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Persian Gulf, and St. George’s Bay followed by a complex drydock availability. Shreveport subsequently completed all readiness assessments and Engineering Certification (ECERT) in record time preceding her award of the 1998 Battle “E” Award.
Following tours as Operations Officer on the staff of Commander, Carrier Group FOUR and Chief of Staff for Commander, U.S. SECOND Fleet/NATO Striking Fleet, Rear Adm. Groothousen commanded USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), from March 2002-July 2004. During this time, TRUMAN/AIR WING 3 participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom, won the Jig Dog Ramage Award for best ship/air wing team of the Navy while TRUMAN’s crew swept the AIRLANT Battle “E” Competition and was awarded the Battenburg Cup as the best ship in the Atlantic Fleet.
His first Flag assignment was as Assistant Deputy Commandant for Marine Aviation, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps.
From September 2006 through August 2007, Rear Admiral Groothousen deployed onboard 3 rotational Flagships, USS Ross, USS Monterey, and USS Roosevelt, as Commander, Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO. During the course of the year SNMG2 consisted of 7 combatant vessels in rotation from 7 different NATO Maritime nations. SNMG2, deployed the entire year, participated in Operation Active Endeavor in support of counter terrorism, the only Article 5 Operation in NATO’s history, while sailing the Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, Atlantic Ocean, North Sea, Baltic Sea and Gulf of Riga. Rear Admiral Groothousen then served jointly as Commander, Navy Region Europe and Commander, Maritime Air Naples.
He is married to the former Patricia Tarpley Payne of Alexandria, Virginia and currently resides in Virginia Beach, Virginia where he voluntarily serves as the Chairman of the Armed Services YMCA of Hampton Roads Board of Management. Their son, LT Michael R Groothousen Jr. (Rob) his wife Dora and granddaughter live in Norfolk, Virginia where Rob serves on the Staff of Fleet Forces Command. Their daughter Margaret (Megan) lives with her husband John Buckley in Orlando, Florida where they both mold our nation’s future as teachers.
Rear Admiral Groothousen’s personal awards include the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit (five awards), Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Joint Service Commendation Medal and Navy Commendation Medal.