LtCol Joel P. Knutson
LtCol Joel P. Knutson graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in 2002 and received his commission in August of that year. Between January 2003 and May 2005 LtCol Knutson attended The Basic School, earned his Naval Aviator wings and reported to Marine Attack Training Squadron 203 (VMAT-203). LtCol Knutson completed training at VMAT-203 in August 2006 and was assigned to Marine Attack Squadron 513 (VMA-513) at Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, Arizona.
While assigned to VMA-513, LtCol Knutson completed a Deployment for Training (DFT) in support of Red Flag Alaska and graduated from the Aviation Safety Officer (ASO) course. In August 2007, LtCol Knutson was reassigned to the Blacksheep of VMA-214 and immediately deployed in support of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). LtCol Knutson deployed again in January 2009 as a member of VMA-214’s 13th MEU detachment.
In August 2009, LtCol Knutson executed orders to Marine Aviation Training Systems Site (MATSS) Yuma as the Operations Officer. During his time at MATSS Yuma, LtCol Knutson completed the Expeditionary Warfare School Distance Education Program (EWSDEP).
LtCol Knutson returned to the Blacksheep in May 2011 where he served as the Director of Safety and Standardization. He deployed as part of the squadron’s 11th MEU detachment in November 2011 and completed a DFT to Naval Air Station Key West, FL. LtCol Knutson was then selected as the Marine Officer Instructor (MOI) for the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he served from May 2013 to July 2017.
Upon completion of his MOI tour, LtCol Knutson executed orders to VMA-311 where he served as the Operations Officer and completed the Command and Staff College Distance Education Program (CSCDEP). During his time with the Tomcats, the squadron completed DFTs to Volk Field, WI in support of exercise Northern Lightning and to the Strategic Expeditionary Landing Facility, 29 Palms, CA in support of Integrated Training Exercise (ITX) 2-19. In March 2019, the squadron deployed to CENTCOM as part of SPMAGTF-CR-CC 19.2 in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE.
After completion of the squadron’s CENTCOM deployment, LtCol Knutson reported to Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma Headquarters staff where he served as the Command Inspector, Director of Operations and Executive Officer.
LtCol Knutson holds a B.A. in History and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. His personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal Strike/Flight with numeral three, Navy Commendation Medal and Navy Marine Corps Achievement medal with gold star.
LtCol Knutson and his wife, Crystal have two children, Anna (b. 2008) and David (b. 2010).