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BRIDGEPORT, Pa. — Former United States Naval Academy men’s water polo athlete Jim Derdall is a retired United States Marine assigned to the Joint Staff J7, Deputy Director for Joint Training (DDJT). He retired from the military in April 2007, and transitioned into Department of Defense (DoD) Civil Service. He works in the Deployable Training Division (DTD) as Lead Joint Training specialist.

A 1984 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy where he lettered in water polo, and earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Derdall was commissioned in the Marine Corps. After the Basic School he qualified as a AV-8B Harrier pilot, and then served in a variety of squadron officer billets in ‘gun squadrons’ including the VMA-513 “Nightmares” and multiple tours with the VMA-214 “Blacksheep”.  He also served as Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI), and Training Landing Signals Officer (T-LSO); and is a plank-holder in the AV-8B Night Attack program. He was a Harrier Instructor at Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron-One (MAWTS-1), and is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS) class 106, with nearly 3000 hours in 35 aircraft types. He served as an acquisition professional; and as lead test pilot on numerous flight test, weapons test, and systems test programs for the AV-8B and for design of the F-35. He was twice selected as a USMC nominee to NASA’s astronaut program.

Derdall served on multiple deployments in the PACOM and CENTCOM AORs; as a Forward Air Controller (FAC); and as a staff officer at Headquarters, USMC; with the 3rd Marine Division, 4th Marine Regiment; at U.S. Joint Forces Command; and on the Joint Staff.

He has over 20 years of Joint experience supporting training, exercises, and real world operations at USAFRICOM, USCENTCOM, USEUCOM, USINDOPACOM, USNORTHCOM, USSOUTHCOM, USCYBERCOM, USSOCOM, USSPACECOM, and USSTRATCOM. He has supported training and operations for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, CJTF-76, CJTF-82, CJTF-101; HQ ISAF, ISAF Regional Commands South, Southwest, and North; CJTF-Horn of Africa; as well as numerous NATO, interagency, and U.S. Embassy training and mission rehearsal events.

He has worked on a variety of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff directed in-stride, after action, and lessons learned efforts: COVID-19 Military Response In-stride Review, Military Response to Civil Unrest, Review of Actions Related to the 6 January 2021 Attack on the U.S. Capitol, Review of Actions Supporting the 2021 Presidential Transition, Review of Actions Related to the Retrograde from Afghanistan, In-stride Review of Crisis Management for conflict in Ukraine, and Russia-Ukraine Strategic Lessons.

A native of Chicago, Ill., with a Master’s Degree in Divinity from Regent University, Derdall and his wife Sandy live in Chesapeake, Va., and are the proud parents of four grown children.

Collegiate Water Polo Association