Welcome to the Golden Gate Wing!

High Flight PoemYou've just landed at the Home Base of the Golden Gate Wing! Here you can find the latest news and what's going on! If you are not a member, check us out! We are a very active group of the CAF with Fly Days, and dinner meetings with guest speakers. We participate in air shows and organize tours.  Best of all, get a hand in keeping 'em flying! Use the navigation switches on the left panel to get started!

Next Guest Speaker: Sunday 25 February 2018

Christopher Starling, Colonel, US Marine Corps (Retired)

Christopher Starling, Colonel, US Marine Corps (Retired) edited by Ken Evans

Chris was born in 1966 in Braunschweig, Germany.  His father was a career Navy Chaplain and his family moved every few years.  He attended grade school in Annapolis MD, Virginia Beach, VA and Fettercairn, Scotland. 

After graduation from Middletown High School in Middletown, RI, in 1984, Chris attended college at Virginia Military Institute at Lexington, VA. He studied German and International Studies and spent a semester abroad in Vienna, Austria.  Upon graduation in 1988, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps.

After entry level training in Quantico, VA, he reported to his first operational assignment with First Battalion, First Marines at Camp Pendleton, California in 1989.  During Operation Desert Shield / Desert Storm, he commanded a Heavy Weapons Platoon and completed two deployments aboard ship to the Western Pacific.

In 1992, Chris reported to Joint Task Force Five in Alameda, CA.  He was one of two Marines assigned to a Counter-Drug Task Force supporting the US Coast Guard and Federal Law Enforcement to stem the flow of South American cocaine and Southeast Asian heroin to the United States.

From 1996-1998 as a Captain, Chris commanded H&S Company and subsequently Kilo Company in 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines at Kaneohe Bay, HI.  He next spent a year on the staff at Marine Forces Pacific where he was promoted to Major.

Between 1999 and 2002, Chris was an Instructor at the US Military Academy, West Point, NY.

Returning to the operating forces in 2002, he was the XO of 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines in the March up to Baghdad in 2003.  He then became the Operations Officer of 2nd Marines where he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and deployed again to Western Iraq for a year.

Returning from Iraq, Chris assumed command of 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines and deployed again to the Mediterranean Sea, East Africa, and the Arabian Gulf.  Following battalion command, Chris reported to Stanford University as a Hoover Fellow where he studied the expanding influence of China in Africa.

In 2008, Chris moved to Stuttgart, Germany to become the Partnership Division Chief at US Africa Command.  He was promoted to Colonel and was selected to command the 23rd Marines in San Bruno, CA from 2010-2013.  During that time, he was deployed for a year from 2011-2012 to be the senior US military advisor to the Emirati Presidential Guard. 

His final assignment was at the Pentagon working in the Plans, Policies, and Operations Directorate of Headquarters, Marine Corps.  Chris retired in December 2014 with over 26 years of active service. 

Chris holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the City University of New York.  Military schools completed during his time in service include the Marine Corps Infantry Officer Course, Mountain Leader Course, Counter-Drug Intelligence Course, Army Airborne School, Amphibious Warfare School, and Joint Forces Staff College.

Chris’ military awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, three awards of the Legion of Merit, three Bronze Stars (two with Valor device), three awards of the Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal and two awards of the Combat Action Ribbon. 

Chris is a proud father of three children: Robert who attends Virginia Military Institute, Erik who is a Corporal in 3rd Battalion 4th Marines, and Christina who attends Longwood University.

Chris resides in San Francisco and works for VetsinTech, a nonprofit that educates and assists Veterans with job placement.  His hobbies include hiking, mountain biking and theatre.




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